I’ve worried about my children ever since the World Health Organization called cell phone radiation a “possible human carcinogen.” Studies show that children receive more phone radiation than adults because of their thinner skulls.
But what about the electromagnetic fields — better known as EMF — generated by wireless technologies such as tablets and WiFi, as well as cell phones? Recent action taken by the French government has me worried about that, too.
A bill adopted by the French National Assembly in January banned WiFi in childcare facilities. It also restricted cell phone advertising to children under 14 and mandated that manufacturers recommend the use of hand-free kits to consumers.
The French government is concerned that people are being exposed to EMF frequencies through wireless enabled computers and tablets, electrical power lines and transformers, and cell phone towers.
And they cited cell phones as children’s largest source of EMF exposure.
Which brings me back to the U.S. Currently, more than half of American children between eight and 12 have their own phones. I’m guessing the other 50% are borrowing them.
Our government doesn’t seem to see any problem with cell phone use. From the FCC website: “the weight of scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile devices with any known health problems.”
But for about 50 years, we didn’t have any problem with cigarettes, either.
The French government’s action is part of a larger global trend. Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an intergovernmental agency that’s part of the World Health Organization, cited factors such as more conducive brain tissue, thinner skulls and longer-term exposure (from earlier introduction) in their suggestion that EMFs can be harmful to children.
Yes, we can take steps to protect our families from EMFs. These steps can be as simple as avoiding wireless baby monitors or as intensive as hard-wiring homes. But unless you go off the grid there’s no getting away from this wired world. And if phones are the main source of exposure, I think that’s a good place to start.
So here are some guidelines we’ve established in my family to keep us safe from cell phone radiation:
1. Text instead of talking.
2. Use the speakerphone when talking to limit “heat effect” cell phone radiation exposure.
3. Keep the phone away from your body — in a bag or backpack. Even when they’re not in use, phones can emit “non-iodizing” cell phone radiation, which can extend for 20 feet.
4. Don’t sleep near your active cell; turn it off or charge the phone outside of your bedroom.
5. Try to keep cell phones away from smaller children, as studies have shown that the younger the child is, the more vulnerable she is to cell phone radiation.
Moms have gotten the message: According to a 2011 BabyCenter report, mothers are 284% more likely than the average adult to text their friends rather than call them. I think it’s up to us to share this trend with our kids.
Can you read me now?