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Concerns about the negative impact of cell phone radiation are persistent. This debate is unending as mobile phones have become a constant part of people’s lives.
Most people can’t even imagine a few minutes without their phones, let alone a day or a life. Researchers conduct continuous studies to know more about the radiation emitted by cell phones.
Cell phones emit radio frequency (RF) radiation. It is a cause for concern as prolonged exposure to high RF levels can affect your tissues and cells negatively. (1)(2)
Unfortunately, with technical developments and easy access to the Internet, people spend an average of 3–4 hours on their phones. They can be playing games, doing work, checking their social media, or simply sending text messages. Irrespective of age and gender, many people are consumed by their phones and the RF radiation emitted by them. (3)
How to Protect Yourself From Cell Phone Radiation
When you use your phone, it sends a signal to the nearest cell tower in the form of RF waves or energy. This RF radiation goes out in all directions from your phone, including to your head and the rest of your body. Even when using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services, cell phones release these RF waves.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from radiation exposure.
1. Use the airplane mode
Phones tend to be constantly connected to cell towers so you do not miss any calls, but when you activate airplane mode, your phone automatically turns off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular connections, which means less exposure to RF radiation.
Thus, when sleeping, you can keep your phone in airplane mode. (4)
2. Sleep away from your phone
A lot of people, especially youngsters, have this habit of sleeping with their phones right next to them or under their pillow. This is not good because this leads to increased radiation exposure due to the very close proximity of the phone to the head and body.
Keeping the phone near or under the pillow while sleeping has been shown to be correlated with daytime sleepiness, sleep disturbances, and increased sleep latency. (4)
3. Use wireless technology
To avoid having your phone very close to your head while on calls, wear wireless headsets or Bluetooth earphones as they emit very minimal RF radiation.
But take note that although the radiation released by these headsets is minimal, it is still there. So, disconnect these devices when you’re not using your phone. (5)
4. Avoid using your phone when the signal is weak
If your phone experiences weak signals, it will emit greater RF radiation to connect to or reach the nearest cell tower. This is not good for your health. (6)
5. Keep your cell phone away from your body
Bodily contact with your cell phone should be limited and only when absolutely necessary. Keep a few millimeters of space between yourself and your phone.
A study showed that tissue temperature increased when using a cell phone at distances of 4 mm from the body as compared to 4 cm. (7)
Also, try to put your phone in your pocket or the clothes you’re wearing. Instead, put it in a bag or a carrier. This also goes for tablets and laptops; avoid placing them on your lap.
6. Practice earthing
Earthing or grounding is a process where a device is connected to the ground, which is a sea of electrons. The simplest way of earthing is by staying grounded and putting your bare foot on the ground. (8)
Connecting yourself to the electrons in the earth is known to promote physiological health and improve well-being. It has been shown to promote better sleep quality and pain reduction.
Earthing can be practiced by walking barefoot on the ground, sitting outside, or sleeping indoors connected to a conductive system that will transfer the electrons from the earth into the body. (9)
7. Turn off the Wi-Fi
If you try to connect your phone to your Wi-Fi, you’ll find at least 10 more Wi-Fi connections available around you.
To lower the electromagnetic field (EMF) energy in your home and surroundings, disconnect your Wi-Fi whenever you’re not using it. It is a good habit to switch off your Wi-Fi at night when going to sleep. (10)
8. Talk from a distance
When on call or listening to something on your cell phone, use the speaker mode instead of holding the phone near your ears. If you are unable to turn on the speaker, just increase the volume to standard mode and hold the phone a few inches away from your head. (7)
Why Is RF Radiation Bad for Health?
RF radiation heats your body cells rapidly. Imagine using a microwave to cook and heat food – RF does the same to your body. Organs that have a naturally low supply of blood are more vulnerable to this type of radiation, such as the eyes and male testes.
Although you can’t see radiation, it doesn’t mean they are not real. You are constantly surrounded by electromagnetic waves, RF being one of them. If you were able to see these waves, the world around you would be very brightly illuminated 24/7. And, if you were able to hear them too, you’d hear a loud noise all the time. (1)
Potential Health Risks of EMF Exposure
Here are some potentially harmful effects cell phone radiation can cause.
1. Increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases
Prolonged and extreme exposure to EMF radiation can have harmful effects on your brain cells that increase the risk of neurodegeneration. This can lead to the onset or worsening of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
One study showed that EMF radiation exposure may be associated with high mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a disorder of the nervous system in which you lose muscle control due to impacts on your nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. (11)
2. Decreased sperm count
Studies have shown how EMF radiation affects your reproductive functions. This is because EMF is known to reduce sperm count, motility, and viability. It negatively impacts the semen quality and sperm morphology as well. (12)
A study also revealed a 59% reduction in sperm count in western countries from 1973 to 2011. This suggests that with the passing of time, this phenomenon could only get worse. (13)
3. Reproductive health issues
Both men and women can suffer from reproductive issues due to EMF radiation. In the western world, women have been facing lower birth rates, especially since around 2010, when cell phones became more famous. (14)
4. Poor mental health
Excessive use of cell phones can be linked to poor mental health. Studies have found that using cell phones excessively and increased exposure to these devices can take a toll on a person’s psychological and behavioral health. However, more research is needed on this topic. (15)
5. Increased blood glucose in diabetics
A study has shown that EMF exposure can lead to a higher blood sugar level in those who suffer from diabetes or are prediabetic. (16)
6. Increased risk of heart disease
One study evaluated the effect of harmful EMF radiations on your heart health. (17) It showed that higher exposure to EMF radiations negatively impacts the body’s blood flow and oxygen compensation, leading to cardiovascular problems.
7. Increased risk of cancer
EMF exposure has been listed as a possible carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). Studies have linked serious EMF exposure with leukemia and other cancers. (18)
Can cell phone use affect sleep?
Yes, cell phone use can cause sleep disturbances and insomnia. (4) Using your phone for more than 8 hours a day has been positively related to sleep disturbances and reduction in sleep duration.
This is because phone usage and the released radiation decrease the production of melatonin, which is an important hormone as it controls the sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. A reduction in melatonin makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
What are the effects of cell phone radiation on hormones?
Hormone imbalances can be related to the usage of phones. Cell phone radiation can decrease the production of melatonin, affecting your circadian rhythm. (4) It has also shown a negative impact on male reproductive hormones. (12)
Can cell phone usage lower immunity?
Studies have shown the effect of EMF emitted from a mobile phone on the immune system in animal models. Phone use led to a significant decrease in immunoglobulin (antibody) levels (IgA, IgE, IgM, and IgG) and total leukocyte (white blood cells: lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils) counts. (19)
Although phones have become an integral part of people’s lives, it is important not to forget their negative impact on health and well-being. Take the necessary precautions to stay away from these potential health threats by following the tips above.
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