Getting the latest phone or smart toy this holiday season may not be all that good of a gift for you or your children, experts believe.
In a discussion held about the risk of cell phones and high-tech toys and its preventive measures, health and technology experts, including Dr. Ronald Melnick, a former toxicologist for the National Institutes for Health (NIH), warned families to be more careful in purchasing wireless devices, smartphones, toys, and virtual reality (VR) headsets, since these emit microwave radiation “that may cause cancer and infertility.”
Small amounts of microwave radiation are put out by smartphones and other wireless devices when they connect to the internet. While the energy released is nowhere near as strong as those from ultraviolet radiation or x-ray, studies have found that our constant proximity to our devices can increase the likelihood of cancer and infertility in the parts of the body they come in contact with. (Related: Cell phone radiation – is your cell phone killing your sperm?)
Moreover, our bodies are subjected to surges of radiation every time our phone tries to connect to a weak network or transmit huge amounts of information. Scientists caution that erratic exposures pose a high risk. Studies have identified where we put our mobile phones in our bodies and the risk that area has. If a man puts his phone in his pocket, for example, he may have an increased risk of infertility. Likewise, when people frequently put their phones to their ears, it heightens the risk of getting ear and brain cancers.
The NIH has previously released a toxicology study regarding phone radiation in 2015, which Dr. Melnick was a part of. The findings, which was a result of in vivo testing of mice subjected to electromagnetic radiation from childhood, stated that exposure to greater intensities of radio frequency (RF) radiation could directly lead to rare forms of brain and heart cancer.
“Results from that study showed that rats developed tumors, gliomas (brain tumors) and malignant [tumors] of the heart. In addition, there was DNA damage in brain cells of exposed animals,” he explained.
According to him, a concerning aspect of the study is its striking similarity to current cases of cancer that are observed in humans who use mobile phones.
California warns against RF exposure
In line with this development, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released a statement regarding the exposure of individuals to RF from mobile phones. The CDPH, in its statement, stated that the advisory serves as guidance while scientific evidence is still growing. However, the agency pointed out that scientific literature already exists regarding the risks of long-term, high-use of mobile phones to human health.
This comes at a time when mobile phone use is at an all-time high. In the U.S., around 95 percent own a phone with 12 percent of that population using it for everyday internet use. Even more concerning is that children as young as 10 years old receive a phone, which they keep near them at all times.
“Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use,” according to Dr. Karen Smith, director of the CDPH. “Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”
The agency has also released some tips to reduce RF exposure:
- Put some distance between your phone and your body.
- Don’t use your phone when it’s sending out high RF energy levels.
- Don’t sleep with your phone beside you.
- Take off your headset after calls.
Learn how to protect your body from harmful radiation by going to RadiationScience.com.