Attention Crackberry addicts:
San Francisco has tentatively approved a law requiring cellular vendors to report the amount of radiation your phone emits. The mayor, Gavin Newsom, is expected to sign it into law.
Proponents of the law claim thatÂ this information is as relevant to consumers as the nutrition information on food labels. Opponents claim that the information is irrelevant because science hasnâ€™t been able to prove a conclusive link between cell phone use and tumors. Cell phone vendors worry that the information will mislead consumers into believing one phone is safer than another when thereâ€™s no conclusive evidence of a safety issue in the first place.Â
Although severalÂ studies have tested a link between cell phone use and brain tumors, the results are inconclusive. Some studies have shown no correlation at all and others have shown a modest increase in tumors in high-volume and long-term users. The methodologies and conclusions of the studies are hotly debated from both sides.
AÂ recent large-scale international study seemed to show a higher incidence of tumors in high volume users, which it defined as people who talk on their phones at least 30 minutes per day. Some would argue that’s average usage, which would imply a real threat to the general population. But the methodologies of that study have attracted vast criticism as well.
It is interesting to note that the incidence of brain tumor diagnosis hasn’t increased appreciably over the last decade despite a massive increase in cell phone use.
The Environmental Working Group published aÂ list of the most popular cell phones and the radiation emitted by each. All phones listed fall below theÂ FCC guideline of 1.66 watts per kilogram.
Although no conclusive evidence exists, if youâ€™d rather be safe than sorry there are ways to reduce your radiation absorption. Here are some recommendations from the National Cancer Institute:
- reduce the amount of time you spend on your cell phone by reserving it for short conversations, and trying to use land lines when possible.
- use a hands-free ear piece to maximize the distance between the cell phone and your head. The radiation is emitted from the antenna in the phone, so putting distance between your head and the phone will decrease the amount of radiation youâ€™ll absorb.