Our electronic gadgets produce a type of radiation called electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and in recent years, this has become a topic of interest. In the last decade, the number of cell phone users has increased exponentially and today, there are over 7.5 billion users worldwide – which is more than one cell phone per person! Cell phone usage has been linked to a wide variety of health concerns (from cancer and lower fertility levels to behavioral and sleep problems), but there is insufficient evidence for a direct causal link between the two. This lack of evidence is not surprising since personal cell phones gained popularity in the 90s.
Although we do not fully understand all the cell phone risks
, it is indisputable that the human body absorbs the electromagnetic radiation from these devices. Here are 5 places you shouldn’t store your cell phone.1. Bra/Shirt Pocket
There are innumerable unhealthy habits and chemicals in our environment that can increase our risk of cancer
and so it is not possible to classify a specific case as a phone related breast cancer case. There have been several experimental studies on the link between breast cancer and cell phone radiation, but the results are inconclusive. However, scientists and breast cancer radiologists advise women to refrain from storing their cell phone in their bra as there is a possibility that this could increase the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer in men is rare since over 99 per cent of all breast cancer cases occur in women, but it is still a risk and so men are advised not to store their cell phones in their shirt pockets. The electromagnetic radiation from a cell phone is absorbed by the body tissue that it comes in contact with, and so you should not store it in a place where it is in constant contact with your skin. 2. Front Trouser Pocket
The testes are more vulnerable to radiofrequency energy as compared to other organs. Experiments on sperm outside the body showed that exposure to mobile phone radiation decreases sperm motility
. Controlled tests on male subjects showed similar results on sperm viability and motility. Furthermore, data from 10 studies was compiled and researchers found that storing mobile phones in proximity to the testes resulted in a sperm motility reduction rate of approximately 8 per cent. Storing your cell phone in your front trouser pocket with it pressed against your skin is unwise as the cloth barrier of your pocket is not enough to protect you from the electromagnetic radiation.3. On Your Hip (if you are pregnant)
There have been very few studies on the effects of cell phone radiation on unborn babies, but there have been a few experiments on animals. A recent study by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine showed, mice that were exposed to radiofrequency radiation in-utero displayed hyperactivity, diminished memory and other traits that are typical of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
. Researchers pointed out the possible link between cell phone usage and ADHD as the CDC reports that the number of ADHD cases has been increasing steadily every year since 1997. Concerns over the effects of using a cell phone during pregnancy have led many women to give up their cell phone for the duration of their pregnancy. However, if it is not possible for you to give up your cell phone, you can take several steps to minimize the radiation exposure to your unborn child. Instead of storing your cell phone in your pocket or clipped to your hip, place it in your handbag so that it is further away from your body. Using your pregnant belly as a tabletop for your snacks is sure to elicit a laugh from your friends, but do not use it as a storage place for your phone while you channel surf.
4. Under Your Pillow
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned people that the electromagnetic energy from mobile phones may cause cancer. The exposure to this type of radiation decreases with distance, which means that the closer your cell phone is to your body, the greater the risk. Researchers are still trying to determine whether cell phone usage can affect brain function and increase the risk of brain tumors
. Experts recommend caution and advise people to restrict their exposure as far as possible. Keeping your cell phone next to your pillow or beneath it, will result in unnecessary exposure to possible harmful electromagnetic radiation throughout the night. Storing your phone by your bedside will also increase the likelihood of you using it just before you go to bed. Cell phones emit blue light which disrupts melatonin production, and this in turn affects our ability to fall asleep. Avoid sliding your phone beneath your pillow or on your nightstand so that you are not tempted to use it.5. In Your Child’s Stroller
Most strollers today have a storage space directly beneath the handle bars as this is a convenient place to store water bottles, diapers, snacks and other small belongings. This storage pocket on a stroller is located directly behind your child’s head and so it would not be a good place to store your phone. Babies and toddlers under 5 have thin skulls which make them more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation. Furthermore, since their brain is still developing, the effects of this type of radiation are greater. The bone marrow in a child’s head absorbs radiation very easily and can be up to ten times more than that of an adult. Early research also shows a tentative link between exposure to radiation from a cell phone and bone mineral density.
The National Radiation Advisory Authorities of several countries have advised their citizens to minimize their exposure to cell phone radiation
. In addition to following proper mobile phone storage guidelines, they have also recommended that users limit the amount of time that they spend talking on the phone and instead send text messages as this would reduce their exposure to the phone’s radiation. Follow proper mobile phone storage precautions; choose a cell phone with a low SAR (specific absorption rate) and switch to hands-free to reduce radiation exposure.