According to scientists at the World Health Organization, cell phone use is a carcinogenic hazard, along with lead, engine exhause and chloroform. Though long-term studies have yet to come to a consensus on whether or not cell phone radiation is dangerous, but consistent data motivated the WHO to place cell phones in the category in May 2011.
Cell phones give off non-ionizing radiation, which is comparable to that of a microwave, though much weaker. Still, for those who would rather be safe than sorry, there are some standard tips that can reduce the amount of radiation involved in cell phone use.
A wired headset or earpiece is one of the more clear answers, as hands-free devices that don’t require you to hold the phone close to your face will decrease the amount of exposure to the phone’s radiation. Wired headsets do transmit some radiation through the wire, but the amount absorbed by the body is significantly reduced.
Speakerphone is another utility that can reduce radiation by a strong degree. Holding your phone just two inches further from your head can reduce radiation by a factor of four, according to Magda Havas, an associate professor with the Institute for Health Studies at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. This may not be practical for use while on the go, but speakerphone is a healthy alternative when possible.
Bluetooth headsets provide many of the same benefits that wired headsets do, but can still give some radiation exposure. Those who wear their Bluetooth earpieces religiously risk even further exposure, as the device can give off radiation even when not in use. The answer is simply to remember to take it off when it’s not in use.
Another time to avoid using cell phones is at during instances of high volume transmission, when the phone is connecting to cellular towers, or struggling to get a signal. If your cell has low signal strength, it will give off more radiation as it tries harder to transmit data.
Of course, one of the best ways to avoid radiation is not to call at all. Texting provides an easy alternative for sending messages, without the need to hold the phone to your face. Being conscious of the amount of time you spend with your cell is central to reducing the amount of radiation you’re exposed to.