Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cellphone radiation

Although this is not necessarily linked to sustainability, it is important for human health. Have you ever thought about how often you talk on a cell phone? Does it charge on your bed or under your pillow? Do you keep it in your pocket at all waking hours? I am certainly guilty of more than one of these, but increased concern of radiation from cell phones is making me reconsider my behavior. 

Do we need one of these to talk on our phones?

Photo courtesy of SENSOREE

Photo courtesy of Gerry Balbido

I woke up this morning to a less than cheerful article in the New York Times "Cellphone Radiation May Cause Cancer Advisory Panel Says":
"A World Health Organization panel has concluded that cellphones are 'possibly carcinogenic,' putting the popular devices in the same category as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides, as a potential threat to human health.
"The finding, from the agency’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, adds to concerns among a small but growing group of experts about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted by cellphones. The panel, which consisted of 31 scientists from 14 countries, was led by Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, a physician and epidemiologist at the University of Southern California and a member of President Obama’s National Cancer Advisory Board.
"The group didn’t conduct any new research but reviewed numerous existing studies that focused on the health effects of radio frequency magnetic fields, which are emitted by cellphones. During a news conference, Dr. Samet said the panel’s decision to classify cellphones as 'possibly carcinogenic' was based largely on epidemiological data showing an increased risk among heavy cellphone users of a rare type of brain tumor called a glioma."
What can we do to protect ourselves from harmful radiation? Talk on your phone less, and when you do, use speaker phone or an earpiece. Do not keep your phone in your pocket and definitely do not sleep with your phone close to your pillow or your bed. 

To see how your phone ranks check out EWG's list and their advice on things you can do to decrease your exposure. CNET also has a list and some suggestions.


  1. This article talks about a theory that was brought to my attention last week on a Hike. In addition to the cellphone radio signals harming the user directly, it has been noted to have an effect on the navigational abilities of bees which has bee attributed to a declination in pollination and honey production:

  2. that is a great article! When finals are over I will do some more research so I can make a good post about it. Thanks!