Though the thought of it might give you separation anxiety, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for you to put down your cell phone. At least, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what one South Florida city urges. Last week, the city of Pembroke Pines passed a resolution warning citizens that radiation from cell phones might cause cancer.
The resolution came after a Pembroke Pines resident, Jimmy Gonzalez, used his own survival story to encourage his cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commission to take action. Gonzalez had a cancerous tumor removed from above his left ear, and another tumor removed from his left hand, according to SunSentinel.com. He believes both may have been caused by his cell phone. The resolution encourages everyone to practice safer cell phone usage and to keep an eye out for news on cell phone radiation.
While city officials are certainly not health experts, the resolution isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t completely off base. Cell phones have been getting a bad rap for a while now, although there has been much debate among researchers about the legitimacy of that reputation, according to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone ShouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution. Some warn that cell phones can be dangerous; others argue that the hype is all overblown. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What we really need is long-term data about biological effects of chronic and cumulative radiation, especially as this new generation of cell phone-addicted children and teens transitions into adulthood,Ã¢â‚¬Â Gittleman says.
That said, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good amount of research that suggests cell phone radiation has the potential to be hazardous. The World Health Organization declared it as a possible carcinogen, and a 2011 study in the American Journal of Medicine found that 50 minutes of cell phone use causes excessive brain activity in the area nearest to the phone, according to Gittleman.
Cell phones emit radio waves, which can be absorbed by tissue nearest to the phone, according to the National Cancer Institute. (To note: The NCI also says that more research is needed to find a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers.) Ã¢â‚¬Å“Exposure to radiationÃ¢â‚¬”even below safety standardsÃ¢â‚¬”has been shown to damage cellular DNA, which can lead to mutations that can cause cancer,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Gittleman. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Studies have also found that our bodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defenses are weaker after radiation exposureÃ¢â‚¬”even low-level radiofrequency exposures triggers the body to produce heat stress proteins, signaling to the body that your cells are in distress.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Disconcerting stuff, but again: Inconclusive, at least for now. In the meantime, in lieu of ditching your cell altogether, it certainly canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt to practice safe cell phoning. Here, GittlemanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s four safe (and simple) ways to use your cell phoneÃ¢â‚¬”and reduce your exposure to radiation.
Keep it away from your head. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you hold it two inches away, the signal is about Ã‚Â¼ its original strength,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Gittleman. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At four inches, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about 1/16 as strong.Ã¢â‚¬Â She also recommends using the speakerphone, a bluetooth headset, or texting when possible.
Place calls strategically. Making calls when the battery is low, the signal is weak, or when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re traveling at high speeds in a car or train can make your phone work harder to connect to the nearest cell tower, which increases your radiation exposure, according to Gittleman. The easiest way to lower your risk: Simply wait to make your call.
Throw it in your bag. Gittleman recommends carrying your phone in your bag or briefcase, rather than your pants pocket, to lower your risk for exposure. And tell the gents in your life to do the same: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Research has found that men who carried cell phones in their pockets had 25% lower sperm count than those who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
Purchase a Pong. This phone accoutrement is proven to reduce your exposure to radiation without messing with your cell signal. Ã¢â‚¬Å“[It] uses an embedded antenna that redistributes and redirects the radiation away from your head (or body),Ã¢â‚¬Â says Gittleman.
Click here for more intel on the health risks of radiation from your mobile devices.
photo: Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock More from WH:
18 Self-Checks Every Woman Should Do
Cell Phones: The Dirtiest Thing in Your Purse
Simple Steps to Sit Less (and Live Longer)
Reprogram your metabolism, and keep the weight off for good with The Metabolism Miracle. Order now!