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Don’t be mislead by a common misconception started in the 90′s that wired headsets, that the headset that came with your cell phone is a safe alternative to placing a phone to your head. This is simply not true at all! Ordinary headsets use a wire to deliver sound to an electronic earpiece that can deliver electromagnetic radiation into your head directly through your ear canal.
While driving, it is best to talk as little as possible on the mobile phone, and in any event, follow regulation 28(b) of the traffic regulations. This regulation stipulates that: “While a vehicle is in motion, the driver of the vehicle will not hold a stationary or mobile phone, and will not use then in the vehicle unless when using a speakerphone; and will not send or read a text message (SMS)”.
“If you're looking for ways to limit your exposure to the electromagnetic emissions from your cell phone, know that, according to the FTC, there is no scientific proof that so-called shields significantly reduced exposure from these electromagnetic emissions. In fact, products that block only the earpiece—or another small portion of the phone—are totally ineffective because the entire phone emits electromagnetic waves. What's more, these shields may interfere with the phone's signal, cause it to draw even more power to communicate with the base station, and possibly emit more radiation.”
Use a corded home phone whenever possible, to minimize the need for a cell phone. Cordless home phones emit RF, so replace cordless phones with corded home phones. One initial step is to unplug the electrical cord of the cordless phone base station when the phone is not in use, because otherwise that base station will emit RF nonstop. Note: you can plug a corded phone handset or corded headset into your VoIP connection.
The amount of RF energy absorbed from the phone into the user’s body is known as the specific absorption rate (SAR). Different cell phones have different SAR levels. Cell phone makers are required to report the maximum SAR level of their product to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This information can often be found on the manufacturer’s website or in the user manual for the phone. The upper limit of SAR allowed in the United States is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) of body weight.
Experts suggest that mobile phone users can take a number of precautions to reduce any possible health risks. Almost all agree that the best step is to keep mobile phone conversations short and to a minimum. Many believe that so-called hands free kits reduce the risks by cutting the amount of electromagnetic radiation entering the brain. They also recommend that users buy phones with external aerials so that it is as far away from the head as possible when in use. Similarly, it is believed that phones with a long talk time are more efficient and produce less powerful emissions. Users are also advised against buying handsets with a high “SAR” value, which means it emits more radiation.
Forced to take action, the cell phone industry set up a non-profit organization, Wireless Technology Research (WTR), to perform the study. Dr. Carlo developed the program outline and was asked to head the research. Oversight of the issue was charged to the FDA, though it could have and probably should have gone to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which fought hard for jurisdiction. But the industry had enough influence in Washington to get whatever overseer it wanted. It simply didn’t want to tangle with EPA because, says Dr. Carlo, “… the EPA is tough.”
To find out about the state of research on the link between phones and cancer, we spoke with Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and an expert in phone radiation who led a World Health Organization working group on the subject. In 2011, the WHO group deemed phone radiation “possibly carcinogenic,” which is less certain than other classifications, but isn’t an outright “no” either. Six years later, Samet said the evidence in either direction is still mixed and that for the time being, there remains “some indication” of risk.
An analysis of data from all 13 countries participating in the Interphone study reported a statistically significant association between intracranial distribution of tumors within the brain and self-reported location of the phone (7). However, the authors of this study noted that it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about cause and effect based on their findings.