(This is an issue I can’t seem to get away from. We’ve been discussing EMF exposure from the laptops and the wireless server in our local elementary school. I’ve been reminding my students to turn off their wireless if they are using Word to type a document to reduce exposure. I recently read an article in Time magazine about how the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic” which put them in the same category as DDT and gas exhaust. Confusingly, also in that category are mundane items like pickles and coffee. No wonder people are confused!
Another Time blog post showcases the differing points of view and studies on this issue. Nonetheless, if you prescribe to the precautionary principle as I do, it makes sense to limit EMF exposures for children until we know more. Lloyd Burell shares some tips for how to do just that below. My intention is not to provoke fear by publishing this post– but to provide tips for how concerned parents can limit their child’s EMF exposures. I’ll have more on this topic soon, too.)
Can you hear it? Can you see it? Can you smell it? Move a little closer! No matter how close you get to your cell phone, or similar wireless device, its unlikely you’ll ever feel the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) pollution that it emits and that is all around us.
Because you can’t tell that the EMFs are there, unless you have an EMF detector, you tend to forget about them. But don’t be deceived, the dangers are real, particularly for our children.
People are increasingly waking up to this fact. In May of last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen. There are thousands of scientific studies that have revealed the hidden dangers of EMF pollution. In Denmark a study revealed that 54% of children born of mothers who were cell phone users had behavioral issues. If the children grew up to be frequent cell phone users, that percentage rose to 80%. That’s 4 out of 5 children. Interestingly brain tumors have now taken over from leukemia as the biggest cause of death amongst children. This is consistent with findings in Europe and the UK where there has been a 40% increase across the board of brain tumors over the last 20 years.
In simplistic terms EMFs are an energy wave. These waves penetrate pretty much everything, including our bodies. They have many uses. We use them to enable communicate via our cell phones and our computers. We use them to heat our food in microwaves. As we use these technologies more, so the pollution grows more. The WHO considers EMF pollution to be the most common and fastest growing environmental concern.
The fact is our kids are going to be the first generation of humans to experience EMF pollution throughout their whole lives. 75% of teenagers in the US are now using cell phones, up 45% since 2004. Here is another scientific fact: your child is at a higher risk because they absorb more EMF radiation from their cell phone than you. Their bodies have a higher water content, which makes them more conductive. They are also more vulnerable because; they have thinner skulls, their brains are still growing, and their immune systems are not fully developed.
Your kids might already be reacting to the EMFs they are being increasingly exposed to. Notice any stranger headaches or earaches when they are on their favorite (wireless) video game? Or maybe, no matter how much sleep they get they are just more tired than they used to be.
What about the effects on a child who has been exposed to EMFs and cell phone radiation all their lives? Studies show that the health effects of EMFs are cumulative. After 3 or 4 decades of exposure, the health effects could be devastating if you do not take action.
How To Limit Your Kids Exposure To Cell Phone Radiation
Clearly EMFs are here to stay. What can you do? Here are a few easy tips on how you can limit your child’s EMF exposure from their cell phone use.
1. Limit the time they spend on a cell phone
Your child’s exposure to cell phone radiation is dependent on the incidence and duration of the call. So, endeavor to restrict the duration and frequency of the time they spend on their cell phone. Give them access to a regular phone. Installing a corded phone in their bedroom is great way to get them off their cell phone. Though convenient, their cell phone should not be the primary means of staying in touch. Ideally it should only be used by your child as a last resort. Incidentally cordless phones are NOT a healthier alternative: they also emit EMF radiation.
2. Encourage them to text instead of talk
Children love to text. Texting also exposes them to EMFs but less. When they’re texting they have a much lower exposure to EMF radiation comparatively to when they have their cell phone close to their head. SMS, Tweeting and Facebook are healthier ways for them to communicate and stay in touch with their friends than talking on their cell phone.
3. Keep their mobile away from their bodies
The further away the cell phone is from your child’s body the better. Persuade your child to use the speaker phone or an air-tube type hands-free-set when calling. Bluetooth wireless devices actually emit low doses of EMF radiation which add to overall exposure and are thus not recommended. While on standby, cell phones still emit radiation. Better for them to keep their cell phone in a bag away from their body if it is switched on, or better still, get into the habit of switching it off when they are not using it.
4. Teach them to call only when they have optimum reception
The signal bars on cell phones are an indicator of signal strength. Encourage your child to use their cell phone only when all the bars are showing. Basements, underground stations, elevators etc tend to be places where cell tower coverage is poorer thereby causing your phone to emit more EMFs to maintain the signal. The best place to use a mobile phone is while outside or near a window.
Mobile devices are so in vogue these days that it’s near impossible to prevent your child from owning a cell phone. Use these 4 easy tips to help you limit your child’s exposure to EMF radiation from their cell phone. Remember, the best way to instruct your child is by example.
Lloyd Burrell was only a moderate cell phone user when he became electrically sensitive in 2002 . He nows brings awareness to this issue by writing about it on the Internet and through his own EMF protection website, to inform people of the dangers and also advise what they can do to minimize their exposure to EMFs
image: by Tedd Santana on Flickr under CC