Health Care

New guidelines aim to reduce cellphone health risks

ABC’s of your Health
ABC’s of your Health

Having a smartphone for daily use in our life is something that we usually don’t think twice about. And smartphones are not exclusively used by adults anymore, but its usage has increase in children too.

And because the usage of cellphones continue to increase in the United States, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued a guidance for individuals and families who want to decrease their exposure to the radio frequency energy emitted from cell phones and reduce their health risks.

“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cellphones,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer, in a statement.

However, the scientific community has not reached a consensus on the risks of cell phone use, and research suggests long-term, high use may impact human health.

According to CDPH, cellphone use in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years and about 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 12 percent rely on their smartphones for everyday Internet access.

In addition, the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10 years old, and a majority of young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep.

“We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults,” Smith said.

According to the CDPH, cell phones emit radio frequency energy when they send and receive signals to and from cell towers, and some scientists and public health officials believe this energy may impact human health.

“Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use,” said Smith. “Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”

The new three-page CDPH guidance provides practical steps for both adults and children to reduce exposure to radio frequency energy from cellphones.

Those steps include:

Keeping the phone away from the body;

Reducing cellphone use when the signal is weak;

Reducing the use of cellphones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files;

Keeping the phone away from the bed at night;

Removing headsets when not on a call;

and, avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy since those products may actually increase your exposure.

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud