These new devices provide great entertainment and can be educational, but what are the risks to which we are exposing our children with the use of cell phones?
Cell phones have become an essential component of our everyday lives, but with the smarter, thinner and faster, phones now pose a greater risk of exposure to Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) and pollution for everyone.
Cell phone use has always been a concern. As a teenager, I remember when cell phones first came out. A friend of my father used one to make a call and was holding it to his right ear and jokingly said, “Let me switch the brain cancer to the other side” as he switched the phone to the left side of his head. Even when cell phones first came out, there was a perceived danger and now with advancements in technology that risk has increased. Research suggests that we are now exposed to astronomical more electromagnetic pollution than our great grandparents.
It’s not just cell phones that expose us to significantly more electromagnetic pollution than ever before. Our homes are surrounded in wireless connections and communication devices that unless they are turned off are continually emitting radiation.(1) What is most frightening is that children are at the highest risk. Children and teens are the largest demographic of cell phone users, and are the ones at the highest risk.(2)
Cell phones, tablets and other wireless devices have become staples in our homes and are essential components of everyday life. Our children are growing up with technology at their fingertips, some even learning how to operate an iPad before tying their shoes. Yet the damage that these devices may be causing can be extremely harmful.
Young children are at the greatest risk to exposure. Radiation in young children can cause neurological and biological damage. The amount of radiation that children absorb is greater because of their biological make up. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission determined risk factors that make cell phone use and exposure dangerous for children. Young children’s brain tissues are very absorbent and their skulls are thinner allowing for more penetration of the radiation.(3) When cells in the body are exposed to EMF it creates a flow of electrical energy that is not natural to the body.(4) The stress on the body from this exposure can cause damage to the cells in the body. Cells in the body can be active which allow them to absorb nutrients and release toxins or be inactive which means they are impermeable. Due to the environmental stress from EMF the cells can remain in an inactive or impermeable state.(4)
Exposure to electromagnetic pollution is not exclusive to cell phone and wireless devices; however, they are major contributors. Some research suggests that the use of a cell phone beginning as a teenager increases the risk of brain cancer by five times than that of a person who starts using a cell phone as an adult.(4) Although there are other contributors to the electromagnetic pollution, the regular use of wireless devices especially cell phones increases the amount of exposure, particularly in children and teenagers.
The risks and exposure to EMF surround us daily, in our homes, schools, and place of work. Beyond Wifi, we can’t forget that wireless also use GPS, Bluetooth, and Near-field Communications, increasing their electronic pollution. Because radiation exposure is cumulative over a lifetime, electromagnetic pollution is something that you need to be aware of constantly.(2)
There are general warnings about long term exposure to cell phones; however, little is being done to make people aware of the extent of the dangers. An article written by Llyod Morgan,“Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences” reveals the shocking fact that laws and regulation of cell phone use have not changed over the past two decades even though there have been major advancements in the devices [vii]. Since there are not warning labels or instruction on how to reduce EMF exposure with cell phones children and ourselves are being exposed to larger amounts of electromagnetic pollution.(1)
We are constantly exposed to EMF and have minimal control over the exposure because technology is such an integrated part of our lives. There are some steps that can be taken to help reduce the amount of exposure that you and your children are subjected to on a daily basis.
1. Distance is important
- The greater the distance from the source of EMF the lesser the intensity to radiation. It is suggested when using a cell phone or other devices to keep it 15-20 centimeters away from your body.(1).
2. Be aware of where your phone is located
- While a cell phone is on, keep it away from your body in a bag, purse, or on the desk.
3. If the phone is on, there is radiation exposure
- Unless a cell phone is turned off the phone will continue to emit radiation.(1)
4. Learning and educating children on safe use of devices
- Keeping the cell phone out of the bedroom at night. A study conducted by The Pew Research Centre discovered that 75% of preteens and teens store their cell phone under their pillow overnight.(5)
5. Reduce the use of wireless
- Devices that are “hardwired” (plugged in directly for an internet connection) do not emit radiation; however, maintaining a safe distance is still important due to other pollutants that are emitting, including GPS and Bluetooth.(6) There’s no need for your hard-wired computer to be running wireless simultaneously.
Safety needs to become a priority. The faster, the smarter, the thinner a device, the more it is marketable, but that does not make it safer. These steps and others within the home can be taken to reduce exposure for our children. A radiation app for devices that was rejected by Steve Jobs would be helpful in determining the amount of exposure.(2) Electromagnetic pollution is a toxin to which we are exposing ourselves and children to on a daily basis. We must work to protect ourselves.