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Are Cell Phones Making Your Child Sick?

Cell phones have become a way of life and more and more I see them in the hands of youngsters.  Many families no longer have a house phone (mine included) because everyone is reachable via cell.  Have you ever seen that commercial where everyone is fighting over the minutes in the data plan?  It goes something like this:

Dad:  I think the most data should go to the person who has fathered the most children.

Mom:  How about the one with the most hair?

Dad (who is balding):  The most body hair?

And then, in exasperation, the Dad in the scenario says to his son, “stop downloading” and to his daughter, “and stop liking everything”.  Such is the state of the modern family!

Now, these are teenagers being portrayed in this commercial.  And my own son has a cellphone so that a) he can tell us when he needs a ride (which is all the time); b) when he is with a friend he can notify me of a change in location; and c) in case there were an emergency at school.  However, my son can hardly be called a child because he is now larger than both my husband and myself.

That’s not to say that cell phones are not dangerous to adults, but the real focus here is on children.  And even if your child does not have his/her own cellphone, you may allow him or her to play with yours. Here are some things you need to know:

The problem with cell phone use is that they rely on radio frequency.  Our bodies, namely our heads, are absorbing what constitutes radiation on a constant basis.

Now, you may be wondering if RF (radio frequency) exposure has been taken into account and if there is an “acceptable” level.  Yes…and no.  Here in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be in charge of determining what the maximum allowable exposure should be.  According to an article at, the testing used to make this determination is severely lacking.

During the testing phase of this study, a plastic mannequin head was used.  This head basically represents a large, adult male and doesn’t account for people of varying sizes, especially children.  The article goes on to say that our children may be exposed to twice the maximum allowable limit.  According to Om Gandhi, PhD, the absorption in a 10 year old child could be 10 times that of an adult!

The Mobilewise Charity in the UK recently issued a report that included 200 peer reviews on this subject.  They found that cell phone use, especially by children (due to their thinner skulls, smaller brains, and softer tissues) can pose a greater risk of brain tumors, problems with fertility and genes, the production of melatonin, and the development of cancer.

You can read the entire article:

It is estimated that 80% of the world’s population now use cell phones.  What are some things you can do to reduce the risk to yourself and your family?  According to a Fact Sheet that San Francisco uses at the point of sale for cell phones, you can:

1.  Keep your cell phone away from your child.  A child should only use a cell phone in the case of an emergency.

2.  Use a headset or ear buds and keep the phone in your pocket while talking.  If possible, try to use a landline when available.

3.  Reduce the length of your conversations.  Turn it off more often because it emits the signal even when no phone calls are being made or received.

4.  Make sure you only use your phone when you have a strong signal.  Avoid using it in weaker signal areas.

Because people have become so attached to their wireless devices, there will be constant debate on this issue.  But as long as we know the dangers and some of the ways we can reduce our exposure, thus reducing that danger, we owe it to ourselves, and especially to our kids, to try. 

Photo from Microsoft

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