At the end of the summer we will cross the bridge into a new parenting world -- after a painfully long wait (in his opinion) my son will get his very first cellular device.
While it’s easy to get consumed by data caps and text message packages, I have been in search of the most kid-friendly cell phone. And by kid-friendly I mean I’m looking for the model with the lowest possible radiation score.
All cell phones emit radiation
Cordless phones do as well, but cell phones have become more of an issue because they’re practically an appendage in today’s society. The World Health Organization considers the radiation emitted by cell phones to be a possible carcinogen and there are ongoing studies to figure out the potential health issues associated with ongoing exposure to cell phone radiation.
How to measure your phone's radiation levels
If you’re looking for a new phone, or would like to check how much radiation your current phone emits, you need to search for the SAR value. That’s the term for the rate at which body tissue absorbs radiation energy during cell phone use. The maximum rate allowed in Canada and the US is 1.6, a level determined low enough to protect adult consumers from radiation burns.
A quick search of the top three cell phone brands that come to mind found Samsung devices to rate the lowest (SAR average .39), iPhones considerably higher (SAR average 1.15) and Blackberry near the allowable limit (SAR average 1.41). The individual values are in the user manuals and are available on the Industry Canada website.SAR guidelines are just part of the story
It’s important to know that the SAR guideline doesn’t take into account what biological effects cell phone radiation might have on our bodies (like cancer and DNA damage) nor does it consider what level is safe for children. (Children are more susceptible to health issues related to radiation exposure because their bodies are smaller).
In the meantime there are studies that connect long-term cell phone use (10 or more years) with brain tumours, migraines, vertigo, lower sperm count, tissue damage and more.
Choosing a low SAR device is only part of the picture. It’s how you use your phone that counts the most.
How to reduce your cell phone radiation exposure:
Based on available research Environmental Working Group has published guidelines for cell phone safety, common sense tips to limit your radiation exposure.
- Texting is better than talking on your phone. (That’s a relief considering my son is now a teen.) Devices emit less radiation when texts are being sent and received when compared to actually talking on the phone.
- When talking on your phone use speakerphone or a headset as often as possible or hold your phone away from your head (don’t press it to your ear).
- Low signal strength makes for higher radiation emissions so try to limit phone calls when your signal strength is low (2 bars or less).
- Don’t carry your phone in your pocket and don’t sleep with it under your pillow or beside your head. The more you can keep it away from your body the better.
For more detailed information search ewg.org/cellphone-radiation