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 reduce 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.
Wi-Fi radiation, which falls into the RF category, is similarly damaging – particularly for men who stand to suffer reproductive damage when RF-emitting devices such as laptops are positioned too closely to the groin area. Like with the issues caused by cell phone radiation, it’s best to keep laptop computers off your lap and away from your body as much as possible.
EWG is calling on the FCC to update its testing guidelines to take account of the widespread use of smartphone cases. Such action is critical because mounting scientific studies have raised serious questions about the safety of cell phone radiation exposure over the short and long term. In the absence of meaningful action by the Commission, EWG offers consumers tips on how to reduce their exposure to cell phone radiation.
The base station is equipped with antennas for reception and transmission. In order to communicate, the mobile phones and the antennas at the base station emit radiowave radiation (see below). The mobile phone instrument transmits a lower amount of radiation than the one transmitted by the transmission center (cell site), but because the instrument is near the body, the body directly absorbs the energy from the instrument’s antenna.
When called to help with the cell phone issue, Dr. Carlo was working with the FDA on silicone breast implant research. The choice of Dr. Carlo to head WTR seemed unusual to industry observers. An epidemiologist whose expertise was in public health and how epidemic diseases affect the population, he appeared to lack any experience in researching the effects of EMR on human biology. Based on this, a premature conclusion was drawn by many: Dr. Carlo was an “expert” handpicked by the cell phone industry, and therefore his conclusions would only back up the industry’s claim that cell phones are safe.
Dr. Carlo and his team developed new exposure systems that could mimic head-only exposure to EMR in people, as those were the only systems that could approximate what really happened with cell phone exposure. Those exposure systems were then used for both in vitro (laboratory) and in vivo (animal) studies. The in vitro studies used human blood and lymph tissue in test tubes and petri dishes that were exposed to EMR. These studies identified the micronuclei in human blood, for example, associated with cell phone near-field radiation. The in vivo studies used head only exposure systems and laboratory rats. These studies identified DNA damage and other genetic markers.
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There were no biological hypotheses tested in the study. It was therefore only a numbers game. Ignored were mechanisms of disease found in other studies of cell phone radiation effects, including genetic damage, blood-brain barrier leakage, and disrupted intercellular communication. The study did not discuss any research supporting the notion that cell phones could cause problems in users.
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I love this case. However, I don't understand what happens to the radiation that must collect under the case; isn't there a burst of radiation when the case is opened? I posted this question but the answers were from people who hadn't thought of that issue; they didn't have the answer, except for one who theorized that the radiation is slowly leaking out the top, bottom, and sides. I assume the case keeps radiation off the hand that holds the case with the phone in it, which is great, but I do wonder about the stored radiation when, for example, I'm listening to a podcast with the case closed, then open it later.
Finally, Brawley reminded me that cellphones kill humans in another way that we’re already certain about: because of inattention through distracted driving. In the US alone, there were 3,157 fatal crashes in 2016 that involved distracted driving, 14 percent of which included cellphone use, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s not the focus of this piece, but perhaps state and federal regulators could follow places like Washington state, California, New York, and Nevada and heavily crack down on distracted driving with bans or stricter laws.
The RF waves from cell phones come from the antenna, which is part of the body of a hand-held phone. The waves are strongest at the antenna and lose energy quickly as they travel away from the phone. The phone is typically held against the side of the head when in use. The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a person’s expected exposure to RF energy. The body tissues closest to the phone absorb more energy than tissues farther away.
But manipulation by the industry had begun almost immediately at the start of research. While Dr. Carlo and his team had never defined their research as being done to prove the safety of cell phones, the industry internally defined it as an insurance policy to prove that phones were safe. From the outset, what was being said by the cell phone industry in public was different from what was being said by the scientists behind closed doors.
Cables can act as an antenna, especially if they pass close to a strong source of radiofrequency radiation. One study has suggested that if the cable of a hands free mic passes near the phone's antenna, it can pick up some radiation and transmit it to your ear. Our ferrite snap bead is designed to reduce RF radiation in the cable. Made in 2 halves, you simply press it around the hands free wire at any convenient location near the earpiece end. Couldn't be simpler. It is small and lightweight enough to be almost unnoticable, yet powerful enough (50 ohm impedence minimum) to control nasty radiation. These are brand new, top quality and will accommodate wires up to 5 mm (3/16 inch) in diameter. About 1 inch long, grey color. If you are concerned about radiation from your hands free ear mic, this is the answer. Useful from 200-1000 MHz.
Phone radiation isn’t like the radiation from, say, a nuclear meltdown. That’s what’s known as “ionizing” radiation — it’s high energy and capable of damaging your DNA, which researchers have determined leads to cancer. Phones emit a much lower energy radiation (lower even than visible light) that’s considered to be “non-ionizing.” We know non-ionizing radiation doesn’t damage DNA the way that ionizing radiation does. But the question remains whether it could still react with the body in some other way that might lead to problems from longterm exposure.
This was the best vegan EMR-blocking phone case .... I need to carry two IDs and four cards plus cash.. This was too much, so it started to split within months. Eventually it split to the point where my cards would all fall out if I tipped it the wrong way, so I had to put a rubber band on it. After that, the part that holds the phone started to slip so I have to jam it up before I can take a picture. And the case is looking worn. The upshot is that it lasted about a year. That's fine, I guess, but I would prefer something more durable.
Of course, scientific seesawing like that doesn’t provide a lot of clarity or confidence for the 90 percent of American adults and roughly 80 percent of teens who report having a cell phone. So how concerned should you be about cell-phone radiation? Consumer Reports’ health and safety experts conducted a thorough review of the research and offer some guidance.
Several national and international agencies study different exposures and substances in the environment to determine if they can cause cancer. (Something that causes cancer or helps cancer grow is called a carcinogen.) The American Cancer Society looks to these organizations to evaluate the risks based on evidence from laboratory and human research studies.
Although recall bias is minimized in studies such as COSMOS that link participants to their cell phone records, such studies face other problems. For example, it is impossible to know who is using the listed cell phone or whether that individual also places calls using other cell phones. To a lesser extent, it is not clear whether multiple users of a single phone, for example family members who may share a device, will be represented on a single phone company account. Additionally, for many long-term cohort studies, participation tends to decline over time.
To be fair I haven’t tried every single one on the list, but that just be careful in investing your sense of security, let alone good health, in a misplaced sense of something working just because someone says it does and they have “studies” to prove it. Every single company now claims “independently scientific studies” where as this is just usually falsified information and a marketing tactic.
I debated whether to give it 3 or 4 stars: on features, speed of delivery, and quality of construction, it definitely deserves 4 stars. If I can measure and verify the emf reduction, then I will change the rating to 5 stars. Since the whole point of using it is to block excess em radiation, I can't really give it 5 stars without more proof that it really does so.
Dr. Carlo, however, refused to be an easy target. He quickly recruited a group of prominent scientists to work with him, bulletproof experts owning long lists of credentials and reputations that would negate any perception that the research was predestined to be a sham. He also created a Peer Review Board chaired by Harvard University School of Public Health’s Dr. John Graham, something that made FDA officials more comfortable since, at the time, the agency was making negative headlines due to the breast implant controversy. In total, more than 200 doctors and scientists were involved in the project.
But scientists disagree on how real—or how serious—these risks really are, and studies have not established any definitive links between health problems and radiofrequency (RF) energy, the type of radiation emitted by cell phones. “This document is intended to provide guidance for people who want to reduce their own and their families’ exposure to RF energy from cell phones,” the guidelines state, “despite this uncertainty.”
Can cellphone radiation cause cancer in humans? There’s no scientific consensus on this issue, but there is “some evidence” that exposure to radiation equivalent to that emanating from 1990s-era cellphones is associated with brain tumors in male rats, according to results of a US National Toxicology Program (NTP) study released last week (November 1).
We began by getting a baseline of ambient RF in the room at the location of our testing. We then recorded a baseline of the cellphone RF while on an active call with no case. And finally, we measured the reduction in that baseline (still on the active call) using a variety of different cases and RF reducing products – all at the same set distance from the phone.
1. Keep your distance. Do not keep your cell phone next to your body or in your bra. Some athletic wear companies are now making bras with cell phone pockets, as seen in the picture above. PLEASE do not put your phone in the pocket unless your phone is on airplane mode. There is evidence offered by the Environmental Health Trust to suggest that women who keep a cellular phone in their bra may develop breast cancer. Research also indicates that men who keep their cell phones on their belt or near their reproductive organs may have lower sperm counts and less sperm motility.
Among the hundreds of smartphone cases available for iPhone and a bevy of popular Android phones, there are some that claim to reduce the amount of radiation your body absorbs when you have the handset close to your body. Pong Research is a US brand that offers a range of products fitting this description, as is Cellsafe, a company based in Victoria, Australia.
The pacemaker studies were a harbinger of bad things to come. Results showed that cell phones do indeed interfere with pacemakers, but moving the phone away from the pacemaker would correct the problem. Amazingly, the industry was extremely upset with the report, complaining that the researchers went off target. When Dr. Carlo and his colleagues published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997,11 the industry promptly cut off funding for the overall program. It took nine months for the FDA and the industry to agree on a scaled-down version of the program to continue going forward. Dr. Carlo had volunteered to step down, since he was clearly not seeing eye-to-eye with the industry, but his contract was extended instead, as no one wanted to look bad from a public relations standpoint.
We tested a variety of cellphone cases and garment shielding products including the Safe Sleeve, Defender Shield, RF Safe cellphone “flip” cases, and the Pong cellphone case which does not have a cover over of the face of the phone. We also tested the Belly Armor blanket, nursing cover and boxers as well as an anti-radiation tank top sold by OurSure on Amazon.
Moving the meter around the case, we detect readings on the side, back and front of the case. We use the multi-directional TES 593 meter which measures 10 MHz to 8GHz. We use the unit of micro-watts per square centimeter, which looks like this little symbol: μW/cm² and we use it on the max setting which shows the maximum measured value. In non-science speak: the highest level of RF we see, which could be from the back the side or the front.
SafeSleeve is garbage. And the customer service is even worse. I bought one in October 2017 and by the end of January 2018 the sticky patch had worn off to completely no longer be able to hold my phone. I contacted the company, and they would not replace it even though they recognized it was due to “normal wear” because they only have a 60 day warranty. And offered only a one-time 25% off coupon. for a $45 case only to be guaranteed for 2 months is absurd to me! I asked to be contacted by a manager as they do not have a phone number listed anywhere, just email address and has been a week and no response. Totally ignored.
In the studies, the researchers looked at a whole slew of health outcomes (like offspring survival, bodyweight changes, and body temperature changes), but importantly, they also looked at brain tumors, including gliomas. They exposed the animals to radio frequency radiation for up to nine hours a day over two years, and then examined more than 40 tissues in each animal. And they had a control group that wasn’t exposed to radiation for comparison.
This 2017 review, published in Neurological Sciences, looked at case-control studies on cellphone use, focusing on glioma, meningioma, and acoustic neuromas. This review was interesting because the researchers divided the studies by quality, and higher-quality studies — which tended to be funded by the government and not the cellphone industry — showed a trend toward an increased risk of brain tumors, while lower-quality studies did not. Overall, though, their meta-analysis found an increased risk of brain cancers (mostly gliomas) among people who were using cellphones for 10 or more years, and no increase in the risk of acoustic neuroma.
The U.S. government doesn’t seem very troubled, either. The Food and Drug Administration says on its website that research generally doesn’t link cell phones to any health problem. And although the Federal Communications Commission requires manufacturers to include information in user manuals about cell-phone handling, that’s often buried deep in the fine print.
A study by the Corporate EME Research Laboratory and Motorola Florida Research Laboratories tested 9 different cell phone radiation shields, 5 of which claimed to block 99% of cell phone radiation. The other 4 shields tested claimed to emit a reverse radiation that would cancel out the harmful radiation from cell phones. The study found that all of the radiation shields had no effect on the amount of radiofrequency radiation a cell phone user is exposed to from their phone.
EWG met with representatives of Pong Research and fully agrees with its business premise that cell phone cases should decrease, not increase, radiation exposure. Pong hopes to carve out a niche by selling cases that lower the phones’ radiation exposure. We anticipate that as awareness of the potential risks of cell phone radiation grows, Pong and other companies will respond by marketing cell phones and cases that offer users good communication with less radiation.
Since 2001, the FCC has allowed manufacturers to test phones at a distance of up to one inch from the body to account for the use of a holster. In a 2012 report, however, the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional watchdog agency, noted that many cell phone owners actually keep and use their phones right next to the body, so these outdated testing policies could result in radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure greater than the FCC’s legal limit (GAO 2012). The GAO report concluded:
The cell phone industry is fully aware of the dangers. In fact, enough scientific evidence exists that some companies’ service contracts prohibit suing the cell phone manufacturer or service provider, or joining a class action lawsuit. Still, the public is largely ignorant of the dangers, while the media regularly trumpets new studies showing cell phones are completely safe to use. Yet, Dr. Carlo points out, “None of those studies can prove safety, no matter how well they’re conducted or who’s conducting them.” What’s going on here? While the answer in itself is simplistic, how we got to this point is complex.
That’s why randomized controlled trials (RCTs) often yield fairly clear answers about the effectiveness of treatments compared to other study designs. (Fun fact: Scottish doctor James Lind, a clinical trial pioneer, figured out that citrus fruits seemed to have an effect on scurvy using one of the earliest RCTs.) RCTs can also be used to study whether something, like cellphone radiation, can cause disease.