Are smartphones a bigger radiation concern than regular cell phones?
This question was answered on June 9, 2011. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
A recent report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization lists mobile phone use in the same category as lead, gasoline engine exhaust, and chloroform Officially, cell phone radiation is listed as a "carcinogenic hazard" according to their findings.
To put this into perspective, the same scoring system has put some pickled vegetables and coffee in the same category, so this report is by no means a link suggesting cell phones cause cancer but it has stirred the controversy up again.
No one has come even remotely close to linking the development of cancer cells with cell phones, but taking steps to reduce your exposure can't hurt.
The radiation risk is from the cellular transmitter itself, so the risk from smartphones is not any greater just because they can do more.
In fact, it could be argued that smartphones could reduce your risk because you spend less time with the phone to your ear talking because of the text messaging, video call and Internet capabilities.
Reducing the amount of time your phone is turned on and near your body (less than an inch) are the general recommendations that most authorities are suggesting.
Here are some specific tips:
#1 - Use the speakerphone when possible If you hold it in front of your face a couple of inches from your mouth pointing the top of the phone away (like we see on reality TV shows), you will exponentially reduce the exposure to any of the radiation being generated by the cellular antenna
#2 - Use a wired or wireless headset, but don't put the phone in your pocket while it's being used or you will defeat the purpose Distance from your body is the key, so place the phone on a table, desk, etc while on the call.
If you are really paranoid about electromagnetic radiation, you should remove the headset when you aren't using it Walking around all day with a bluetooth headset in your ear constantly scanning because you're concerned about EMR from your cell phone just seems wrong if you're in the conspiracy camp!
#3 - Avoid using the phone to your ear when the signal is weak The amount of radiation generated fluctuates with use, but we do know that a weaker signal from a cell tower causes the transmitter in your handset to crank up it's power which results in higher radiation levels.
#4 - TXT or e-mail instead If you aren't in the 'txt first' camp that the younger generation lives by, this might be a good reason to follow their lead The direct messaging options in social networks like Twitter & Facebook are also becoming very efficient alternatives to picking up the phone Reducing the amount of time your cellular transmitter is next to your ear will definitely reduce your exposure.
#5 - Don't carry your phone around in your shirt or pants pocket Since the distance from your body is the critical component, using a belt clip or belt case, storing it in your briefcase (or purse for the ladies) when you aren't using the phone is suggested Your cell phone is constantly connecting with various cell towers near you, so the transmission of low levels of radiation is pretty constant.
If you know you won't need to use it for an extended period of time, turn it off or put it in 'airplane mode' which turns off the cellular transmitter.
Again, these are precautionary steps for anyone overly concerned about the conflicting and confusing information that continues to circulate about the risks of cancer from cell phones and not a mandate or indictment of the technology we all know and love!
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 9, 2011