First, let’s dispense with the obvious question: if cell phones weren’t safe, wouldn’t we know it?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. There’s already enough evidence to indicate cell phone radiation is a problem. And thanks to the intersection of money, politics, and cognitive dissonance, we can’t blindly trust that those supposed to look out for us will have our best interests at heart. Remember when cigarettes were touted as healthy, or, at least, as safe? Tobacco use killed over 100 million people during the 20th century—more than World War I and World War II combined—before that myth was exploded. Just last week the state of California released information about the risks associated with cell phone use, but it took years of pressure and a lawsuit!
In the United States, the FCC decides how much cell phone radiation is dangerous. The standard was set in 1996 at a Specific Absorption Rate (or SAR) of 1.6 W/kg (watts per kilogram). To give some context, this is the cell phone that was in use at that time:
As cell phones evolved, smart phones came along and our use drastically changed. But the standard was never updated. Instead, if you read the fine print, you’ll find an interesting thing: manufacturers recommend keeping your phone away from your body. Apple says 5 mm; Samsung says 1.5 cm for a Samsung Galaxy S6. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends limiting exposure to wireless radiation, particularly for children and pregnant women, since still-developing brains and bodies are at higher risk. But most people don’t give a second thought to where they keep their cell phone or how much time they spend on it.
What about the studies? They’ve shown mixed but troubling results. Some were performed on animals, like rats; some asked people about their cell phone habits. But people are notoriously bad at estimating their actual behavior, especially when asked what they were doing five, 10, and 15 years before. Additionally, few studies have been performed tracking the effects of low doses of exposure (like you get from your phone) over long periods of time. And a recent study that did, but the U.S. National Toxicology Program, found that exposure to wireless radiation over an extended period of time increased the prevalence of malignant heart and brain cancers in rodents.
While we wait for the science to conclusively define exactly what the risk is, let’s not remain unconscious guinea pigs. Let’s take steps now to protect ourselves and our children so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. I have spent the past four years working with top engineers to develop products that make technology safer. Click here to read about WaveBlocker, our patented device that converts cell phone radiation to harmless visible light, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.