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Cellphones may cause cancer

Written by Diane Archer

California just issued public safety guidelines for cellphones because evidence suggests that cellphones may cause cancer. Studies have found links between people who use cellphones over a long period of time and cancer, along with other health risks. Here is what the California Health Department advises people do to lower health risks from exposure to cellphone radio frequency (RF) energy.

A cellphone uses RF energy when it sends and receives signals to and from cellphone towers. That RF energy goes into the head and body of the person using the cellphone. Some data suggests that RF energy from cellphones over a long period of time may increase the risk of brain and salivary gland cancer as well as lead to lower sperm count and headaches.

RF energy from cellphones is lower when you use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

A Kaiser Permanente study of hundreds of pregnant women in California found that women more exposed to cellphone radiation and radiation from wireless networks and power lines were three times more likely to have a miscarriage than women who were less exposed.

To reduce your risks from RF exposure, when using a cellphone:

  • Use the speakerphone or a wired or Bluetooth headset; do not hold the phone to your ear if possible.
  • Avoid or minimize use of your cellphone if you have two bars or fewer, or you are in a fast moving car or you are downloading data because your phone is emitting more RF energy in these situations.
  • Remove headsets when you are not on a call because they are still emitting a small amount of RF energy.
  • Do not carry your cellphone near your body, in your pocket, bra or belt holder.
  • If possible, use the cellphone to send text messages instead of to speak with someone.
  • Do not keep the phone in your bed or by your head when you sleep; it should be at least a few feet away.
  • Do not use a “radiation shield;” the shield forces the phone to emit more RF energy.

California is the second state to issue cellphone use guidelines. Connecticut issued similar guidance in March 2015.

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