Can you hear me now? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) – a watchdog NGO run by an army of top scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers – released an alarming report this month on the serious risk your cell phone may pose to your health.
According to EWG’s report, “studies of long-term cell phone use, published over the last four years, have found an increased risk of developing two types of brain tumors on the ipsilateral side (the side of the brain on which the cell phone is primarily held) among people who used a cell phone for longer than 10 years.” This stat is even scarier when you consider that cell phones have only been prevalent for about a decade, but that cancer typically takes ten to fifteen years to develop. EWG expects future studies to point to far stronger and more alarming correlations between cell use and certain cancers.
To learn how your phone stacked up in EWG’s testing, look your model up here.
iPhone junkies, we see you breathing a sigh of relief and reaching to troll your app menu for the sixth time today. Not so fast. Your device isn’t among the top 10 worst offenders, but you’re far from in the clear. The 3G is up there with some of the worst of the bunch, emitting a whopping 1.39 W/Kg.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of radiation you absorb, without chucking your phone for a Samsung Impression (though radiation levels should probably be a top deciding factor the next time you choose a new phone):
EWG recommends using a headset rather than holding your phone to your ear for hours a day. Yes, passersby will think you’re talking to yourself, but we all know there are worse things in life than appearing to have gone insane. So visit EWG’s headset site, and see which of the sets recommended by EWG are compatible with your phone. If you order a headset via the Amazon link provided by EWG, a portion of the proceeds from your purchase will go to the watchdog NGO. Let’s face it: research dollars don’t grow on trees, and EWG’s next morbidly depressing (read: critical) study on the toxins and industries destroying your health and planet isn’t going to fund itself.
Next, EWG says it wouldn’t hurt anyone to text a little more, talk a little less. It takes less energy for your phone to send a text than an audio message, which means less radiation output, and further from your noggin, too.
Also, stay off your phone if you’ve got a bad signal – the weaker your signal, the more energy (radiation) your phone has to use to connect to the nearest tower. And avoid giving your six year old his own cell phone, if you can resist the allure of the family plan; young, developing brains absorb twice the radiation that adults brains take in.
Finally, EWG says you shouldn’t bother with “radiation shields” which purportedly block radiation. Apparently, such gizmos only make your phone work harder and emit more radiation than it otherwise would have.
For more of the fine print from EWG’s study, click here.