Safety Tips for Wireless Devices

Updated 5/2/20

Reduce Your Exposure

There is enough science revealing adverse biological effects of electromagnetic radiation to be seriously concerned about our long term exposure, especially for children.  Even though more research is needed, current scientific literature points to broad health effects and precaution is warranted. Below is information and safety recommendations complied from a variety of medical, governmental and non-governmental sources to help you reduce exposure and protect yourself and your family from potential risks of wireless non-ionizing radiation. The first major governmental organization to provide more comprehensive safety guidelines, the California Department of Public Health, did so on December 13, 2017. Please scroll down for other safety tips and recommendations from governmental and non-governmental organizations.

CBS News on CDPH New Cell Phone Guidelines.

 See Also MDSafeTech.org  sections under Scientific Literature

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Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Tips

Reducing Your Exposure

WWW.MDSafeTech.org

Background: There is substantial and increasing research showing that non-ionizing  wireless (microwave) radiation acts as a broad biological toxin, similar to other chemical toxins we are exposed to. These microwaves are emitted from wireless devices we commonly use such as cell phones, cordless phones, tablets, laptops, wireless routers, wireless home monitoring systems, Smart Meters and cell towers. There are now many Baby Products on the market that are wireless. While small short exposures may not cause symptoms or much harm, we are now continuously and increasingly exposed to this radiation. Damage to cellular structures is cumulative. Reducing your exposure is recommended by the California Department of Public Health and an increasing number of physicians and scientists.

Biological harm demonstrated: Includes DNA damage, lipid injury, reproductive harm (sperm, ovary and embryo abnormalities), inflammation/oxidation, lower melatonin levels, immune dysfunction, stress protein synthesis, damage to the brain and nervous system, opening of the blood brain barrier, brain cancer, cancer promotion, harm to wildlife and plants. People with electrosensitivity report symptoms including headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, heart palpitations, memory problems when around wireless devices. Electro sensitivity is recognized in Sweden as a true medical disorder and it is estimated that about 3% of the population experience it. A new review of the literature indicates about 18% of people have the condition to one degree or another and 0.65% cannot work because of it. (Bevington 2019)

Increasing exposure: We are increasingly exposed to a number of wireless devices in our homes and workplaces. These devices act as small cellular antenna similar to a cell towers that emit and receive information via radiofrequency radiation but at a lower power.

Current FCC safety standards are obsolete as they are based only on heat and not biological effects seen in lab and human experiments at far lower levels than currently allowed. They do not account for vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, those with a chronic illness or those who may have sensitivity to wireless radiation. Children are more vulnerable as their bodies are still developing, cells are more rapidly dividing thus they are more prone to DNA/cellular damage. Pregnant women are also highly vulnerable. Harm is cumulative. Precaution is critical.

 

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Recommendations for Safer Use of Wireless Devices

1)       Distance Matters.  Keep cell phones and other wireless devices away from the body. Keep tablets and laptops on the tabletop and not on the lap. FCC standards for laptops and wireless computers are for 7 inches (20 cm) away from the body.  Avoid cell phone in bra or pocket unless in Airplane Mode. (FCC pages 10-11) 

2)      Time Matters: What ever wireless device you are using, the less time you use it, the less exposure you will have. Use airplane mode when not is use and after downloading a movie. (Miller 2019) 

3)      Cell Signal Matters: The fewer bars on your cell phone and the poorer the reception the higher the radiation as the cell phone tries to connect with the tower. Text instead of calling, as this is easier with lower reception.  (Wall 2019)

3)      Babies and Children Matter: Wireless Devices are Not Toys. 

  • Do not let babies or young children use a cell phone, tablet or laptop. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screen time at age 2 or below other than video-chatting,  Age 3-5 no more than 1 hour a day.
  • Remove wireless baby monitors. (Clegg 2019) 
  • Children should use a cell phone for emergencies only. Consider giving your child a cell phone at an older age (14 years or above)

4)       Avoid sleeping with your cell phone next to your head or as an alarm unless phone is on Airplane Mode (it still works as an alarm when on Airplane Mode) Keep in another room. Use landline at night for emergencies. (Khan 2017) 

5)       Turn off Wi-Fi router at night and plug into an on/off surge protector for ease of use

6)       Hardwire Computers. Convert back to a wired connection in your house we all used to have. It is easy. Hardwire tablets as well. Visit EMFAnalysis.com

7)       Hardwire your cell phones and laptops. Go to the website below for tips to reduce your exposure and to view a video demonstration of how to easily wire devices  –https://www.electrosensitivesociety.com/how-to-reduce-your-exposure/

6)       Remove Cordless Phones. A cordless phone has essentially the same radiation as a cell phone and the base emits radiation as well. Use the landline for long calls. Replace the DECT cordless phone with a landline corded phone. (Bolte 2012) 

7)        Keep Your Landline. This sophisticated still necessary communications system connects us all with no radiofrequency radiation, with better sound connection and with a direct reliable connection in an emergency (no triangulation of cell tower needed).You can purchase a corded phone at number of retail outlets.  (SCCMA Bulletin 2016)

8)       Airplane Mode when device is not in use and at night.  Download movies or games first for kids (or yourself)  then view on Airplane Mode. (Zeleke 2018) 

9)       Do not keep a Wi Fi Router in or near a bedroom, especially a child’s room. The farther away the better. Turn router off at night. (Hassanni 2017)

10)     When traveling in a bus or car download games or google map then turn your devices on airplane mode as the radiation is much higher as the device connects and disconnects to different cell towers as you travel. See the California Department of Public Health Guidelines to Reduce Your Exposure to RFR

11)     In the Car – Turn off bluetooth when not in use and minimize use of cell phones in the car as the metal shields the wireless radiation and increases the levels of radiation in the car by a factor of 2 or more. (Dhami 2015) 

12) Avoid Bluetooth and Wireless Earbuds as these put the RF radiation in the ears and in close proximity to the body and brain. Although lower in emissions long term use increases risk of health impacts. Use airtube wired headsets. Take off the headsets when not using them. (SaferEMR)

14)    Consider removing your Smart Meter and switch back to analogue with a human meter reader. Lamech in 2014 reported an increase in symptoms when Smart meters were rolled out in Australia.  In California call PG&E Opt Out  at 1-866-743-0263 and ask to Opt Out or call your local utility as 24 states now have laws that allow you “Opt Out” of Smart Meters.

Resources

1)      “Overpowered”  Book  by Martin Blank

2)       “Reset Your Child’s Brain” Book by Dr. Victoria Dunkley- www.Dr.Dunckley.com

3)       “Disconnect”  by Dr. Devra Davis,

4)       Books:  “Screen Schooled”, “The Big Disconnect”, “Zapped”,

5)       Websites:

6)       The Baby Safe Project-  www.babysafeproject.org

7)       Movie“Mobilize” a documentary about cell phone radiation     www.mobilizemovie.com

8)       Movie:  “Generation Zapped” a documentary that artfully reveals the dangers of long term increasing exposure to wireless radiation with resulting health effects in a significant number of people.    Generation Zapped movie trailer

9)       How to Connect Wireless Devices to Ethernet-Video. This video show you how to wire your cell phone or laptop to wired internet with easily obtained adapters for a better, safer and more secure connection. https://www.electrosensitivesociety.com/how-to-reduce-your-exposure/

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California Department of Public Health Guidelines on Cell Phone Radiation

On December 13, 2017 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its guidelines on “How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Radiation for Cell Phones”  CDPH Press Release Dec 13, 2017 . The CDPH notes that cell phone use is increasing dramatically thus guidelines are needed. See our blog for more information MDSafeTech Blog

The new CDPH guidelines  provide practical steps to reduce exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones. That includes:

  • Keeping the phone away from the body
  • Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
  • Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
  • Removing headsets when not on a call
  • Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

 

Advice from The Cyprus National Committee on Environment

and Children’s Health

This video by the Cyprus National Committee on Environment and Children’s Health that gently warns us about the potential dangers of the use of wireless devices by children. Common sense recommendations are suggested such as turning Wi-Fi off when not in use and at night.

 

American Academy of Pediatrics

Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know

Pediatricians remind us that children are not just little adults but are developing humans that are especially susceptible to the environment and toxic exposures. They state, ” The AAP reinforces its existing recommendations on limiting cell phone use for children and teenagers. The AAP also reminds parents that cell phones are not toys, and are not recommended for infants and toddlers to play with.

Here are their recommendations. You can also visit the AAP site AAP Cell phone tips

American Academy of Pediatrics

Cell Phone Safety Tips

for Families

  • Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • Do not talk on the phone or text while driving. This increases the risk of automobile crashes.
  • Exercise caution when using a phone or texting while walking or performing other activities. “Distracted walking” injuries are also on the rise.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.
  • Remember that cell phones are not toys or teething items.

Environmental Health Trust

Environmental Health Trust has a number of engaging and informative printable materials and handouts on wireless radiation useful for events.    https://ehtrust.org/resources-to-share/printable-resources/  

EHTrust Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 12.59.43 PM

Cece Doucette Addresses Massachusetts Board of Health

Cece Doucette, technical writer and Director of Education Services for Wireless Education, gives one of the most engaging and informative discussions of wireless technology, especially in schools. This 24 minute presentation provides clear, easy to digest information for anyone interested in better understanding this subject. Cece has also catalogued a wealth of information on her Google site Understanding EMFs at https://sites.google.com/site/understandingemfs/contact

Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group released cell phone warnings in 2009 and 2013. Their latest 2016  version, Easy Ways to Reduce Kids’ Exposure T Cell Phone Radiation, notes that 5 countries have issue warnings to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation. Their tips for reducing a family’s exposure include:

Limit children’s use of cell phones

  • Choose a landline for everyday calls.
  • Don’t offer the phone as a toy while on the go or running errands.
  • If your kids use your phone to play games, switch on airplane mode.

Keep your distance

  • Use a headset or speaker while talking on the phone, rather than holding it directly to your ear.
  • While on a call, keep the phone away from your body – say, on a table in front of you, instead of your pocket.
  • Store your phone away from your body, not under your pillow or clipped on your belt.

Choose a good case 

Some cell phone cases may minimize radiation exposure, while others force the phone to work harder and emit more radiation. Click here to learn more about how to choose the best cell phone case.

Text when possible

Texting emits less radiation than voice calls.

Seek a strong signal

Radiation levels are significantly higher when your signal is poor.

  • Use a headset or speaker while talking on the phone, rather than holding it directly to your ear.
  • While on a call, keep the phone away from your body – say, on a table in front of you, instead of your pocket.
  • Store your phone away from your body, not under your pillow or clipped on your belt.

 

Dr. Joel Moskowitz

Dr. Joel Moskowitz , Director of the Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, has also written a list of cell phone safety tips with a call to action.  He highlights the fact that over 230 scientists have signed on to the international Scientists Appeal, at EMFScientist.org, asking the World Health Organization to reevaluate it’s safety standards to include consideration of biological effects, additive effects and sensitive populations such as those with electrosensitivity.  His safety tips include using your landline for long calls, keeping a distance between you and your device as much as possible and waiting for a good signal to make a call as  your device will emit less radiation if the signal is strong. SaferEMR.com.

To view or print a copy of Dr. Moskowitz’s Tips go to Dr. Moskowitz Cell Phone Safety Tips

Friends of the Earth Germany

Keeping Babies Safe from Wireless

Friends of the Earth Germany has developed a brochure for parents to educate them about reducing exposure to wireless technologies.  This is especially important as there are more products marketed and targeted to babies and children, despite serious concerns for both physical health and early addiction potential. Baby tech is a growing market with no warnings  for health impacts on this vulnerable population. This brochure has been translated into English.

Mobile in the Nursery Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 12.15.46 PMMobile in the Nursery by Friends of the Earth – English translation

The full text in German is below https://www.bund.net/fileadmin/user_upload_bund/publikationen/ressourcen_und_technik/ressourcen_technik_mobilfunk_im_kinderzimmer.pdf

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has weighed in with information on health effects of cell phones and state that “Given the large number of mobile phone users, it is important to investigate, understand and monitor any potential public health impact.” They acknowledge that the WHO group the international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). They also note that “The international pooled analysis of data gathered from 13 participating countries found no increased risk of glioma or meningioma with mobile phone use of more than 10 years……The researchers concluded that biases and errors limit the strength of these conclusions and prevent a causal interpretation.”

Their current conclusion, however,  is “To date, research does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating”.  WHO Info on cell phones and health

Federal Communications Commission

Wireless Devices and Health Concerns

What You Can Do

“Even though no scientific evidence currently establishes a definite link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses, and even though all cell phones must meet established federal standards for exposure to RF energy, some consumers are skeptical of the science and/or the analysis that underlies the FCC’s RF exposure guidelines. Accordingly, some parties recommend taking measures to further reduce exposure to RF energy. The FCC does not endorse the need for these practices, but provides information on some simple steps that you can take to reduce your exposure to RF energy from cell phones. For example, wireless devices only emit RF energy when you are using them and, the closer the device is to you, the more energy you will absorb.

Some measures to reduce your RF exposure include:

  • Use a speakerphone, earpiece or headset to reduce proximity to the head (and thus exposure). While wired earpieces may conduct some energy to the head and wireless earpieces also emit a small amount of RF energy, both wired and wireless earpieces remove the greatest source of RF energy (the cell phone) from proximity to the head and thus can greatly reduce total exposure to the head.
  • Increase the distance between wireless devices and your body.
  • Consider texting rather than talking – but don’t text while you are driving.

Some parties recommend that you consider the reported SAR value of wireless devices. However, comparing the SAR of different devices may be misleading. First, the actual SAR varies considerably depending upon the conditions of use. The SAR value used for FCC approval does not account for the multitude of measurements taken during the testing. Moreover, cell phones constantly vary their power to operate at the minimum power necessary for communications; operation at maximum power occurs infrequently.”

Federal Communications Commission. Wireless Devices and Health Concerns. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-devices-and-health-concerns

Federal Communications Commission. SAR Evaluation Considerations for Laptop, Notebook, Netbook and Tablet Computers. https://apps.fcc.gov/eas/comments/GetPublishedDocument.html?id=247&tn=760076

 

Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.Federal Communications Commission Office of Engineering & Technology.  OET Bulletin 65. 2001. https://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65c.pdf

 

FCC Updates SAR for Laptops, Notebooks and Tablets

OET Update Oct 23, 2015. https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?id=33240&switch=P

SAR EVALUATION CONSIDERATIONS FOR LAPTOP, NOTEBOOK, NETBOOK AND TABLET COMPUTERS. Federal Communications Commission Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division. https://apps.fcc.gov/kdb/GetAttachment.html?id=u%2BFlQhsdXkOhbjYvIX0peA%3D%3D&desc=616217%20D04%20SAR%20for%20laptop%20and%20tablets%20v01r02&tracking_number=33240

 

From Updated FCC Document

This document describes the SAR requirements for laptop and tablet computers. For the purposes of this procedure, the laptop platform also includes devices commonly referred to as notebook and netbook computers. The procedures are applicable only when the overall diagonal dimension of the keyboard and/or display section of a laptop or tablet is > 20 cm…

4.1. General

Regardless of simultaneous transmission operations all transmitters must be evaluated independently for standalone SAR compliance according to the required rules and policies to determine RF exposure…

For feet and edge bumpers or similar protrusions incorporated in laptop and tablet host devices, if the antenna location can be positioned against the user during normal use and the additional separation introduced by such protrusions between the outer housing and a flat phantom is > 5 mm or when thereported SAR with the protrusions in place is > 1.2 W/kg, a KDB inquiry is required to determine if additional SAR measurements in more conservative test configurations are necessary. The KDB inquiry is not required if the feet, bumpers or protrusions can be easily removed with no other modifications to enable SAR testing with the device in direct contact with the phantom.

616217 D04 SAR for laptop and tablets v01r02 Page 4

compliance for use in laptop and tablet host platforms…

When the modular approach is applied, transmitters and modules must be tested initially without using a representative host for incorporation in the display and/or keyboard of qualified laptop computers for standalone use according to the following minimum test separation distance and antenna installation requirements. The separation distance required for incorporation in qualified hosts is described in KDB Publication 447498 D01; item e) of 4.1 and item a) of 5.2.2 etc.

  1. a)  ≤ 25 mm between the antenna and user for incorporation in laptop display screens15
  2. b)  ≤ 5 mm between the antenna and user; only when incorporation in the keyboard compartment is required by the hosts, for bottom surface and edge exposure conditions

4.3 Tablet host platform test requirements

  1. When the modular approach is used, transmitters and modules must be initially tested for standalone operations in generic host conditions according to the following minimum test separation distance and antenna installation requirements for incorporation in the tablet platform. The separation distance required for incorporation in qualified hosts is described in KDB Publication 447498 D01; item e) of 4.1 and item a) of 5.2.2 etc.
    1. a)  ≤ 5 mm between the antenna and user for both back surface and edge exposure conditions17
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