On the heels of independent studies that suggest worrying links between cell phone radiation and tumors, including rare childhood brain cancers, the Environmental Working Group has released a new online consumer guide listing cell phones and other wireless devices that emit the most and least radiation.
While the government collects data about radiation, it doesn't require cell phone manufacturers to report it. Before the Environmental Working Group released this report, it required a fair amount of research at the FTC Website -- with the model or ID number of your phone in hand -- to figure out the specific absorption rate for each device. The Environmental Working Group says that the allowable radiation in U.S. wireless devices was set in 1992 and is outdated, based on subsequent research.
As with most environmental exposures, children are most at risk for adverse health effects, so consult this guide particularly when choosing a phone that a child may use. (Seven in 10 children use cell phones, and half use them daily.)
The industry group for the wireless industry, CTIA, responded to the report with a statement by John Walls, vice president of public affairs, which the group has also used to respond to concerns about radiation from cell phone towers: "Since we are not a scientific organization, with respect to the matter of health effects associated with wireless base stations and the use of wireless devices, CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk. In addition, there is no known mechanism for microwave energy within the limits established by the FCC to cause any adverse health effects. That is why the leading global heath organizations such as the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk."
If that doesn't allay your concern, consider this information from the Environmental Working Group:
Use a land line whenever possible.
Use a hands-free headset whenever using a cell phone (Bluetooth devices can also emit radiation, but at much lower levels.)
Keep your phone switched off whenever possible, particularly in areas with low reception (radiation increases as the device attempts to make a weak connection).
Text, rather than talk, to reduce radiation near the brain (texting lowers radiation to the head, relative to a cell phone conversation).
Buying a new cell phone? Be sure to recycle your old cell phone properly.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.