Do Cell Phones Damage our Cells

Every other month, it seems, someone else is coming out with some new study with regards to cell phones and whether they may cause cancer.

This past week, The World Health Organization released a report saying it believes radio frequency electromagnetic fields may be a carcinogen and maybe lead to an increased incidence of glioma, a certain brain tumor. The organization placed it in the same classification of lead, DDT, engine exhaust, and chloroform.

Now it seems that everyone is talking or writing about the possible dangers of cell phones, even a Living Large community member, Sheryl Kraft, on her blog, Midlife Matters.

Some scientists even believe that electromagnetic pollution is one of the most threatening things in our environment.

I’ve been a long-time cell phone user. I still even have, somewhere in one of our storage buildings, my first bag phone. Prior to that, I had jobs that also required me to wear a pager.

I guess it is a good thing that although I’ve had pagers and cell phones for over 20 years, I really never talked on the cell phones much.

The reason lies in the same principle that makes me believe microwaves are not good for us: I listened to my body.

As you might recall, I convinced my husband to chuck the microwave last summer. It was in the summer of 1975, or somewhere around then that as a young tween getting ready with a friend to go to the pool that something told me that anything that can make a hot dog explode in under 2 minutes is dangerous.

While the microwave never made me ill, that I know of, long cell phone use for me always meant my conversation was followed by an excruciating headache.

When we moved to Our Little House, we had to get “stronger” cell phones due to the remote location and the old technology on the cell tower nearest to us. If I didn’t like cell phones before, I sure didn’t want stronger radio waves piercing my brain. I did get a corded earpiece and I can use it sometimes, although more times than not, there is too much static and I have to retreat to using the phone itself.

In addition to limiting my cell phone use, I usually always also use a wired headset when even using cordless landline phones, which also attracts radiation.

One thing I haven’t heard a lot about are Wi-Fi connections with laptops, iPads, iTouch and ereaders.

A little research reveals this is just as bad, or maybe even worse, as people are exposed for a longer term to wireless routers in the home and in public.

What to do?

Aside from chucking all of our wireless devices or wearing the equivalent to tin foil hats in some of these high priced “solutions” at this site, there are some things we can do to limit our exposure:

  • First, heed the warning on your cell phone and try to keep it away from your head when in use. According to my research, texting is not as dangerous, as you aren’t holding the device up to your noggin. If you’re like me and don’t text, use a wired headset. If you don’t have one, use the speakerphone function so you don’t have to put the phone directly to your ear.
  • If you’re sitting at home and still have a landline, yep, it’s best to go back to that old corded phone. Need to walk around while chatting? Use a corded headset plugged into your cordless phone. I use Plantronics headsets and they are great and the sound is crystal clear.
  • Rid your bedroom of wireless devices and even cordless phones while you sleep.
  • Turn off all of your wireless devices when not in use. Wireless routers will still emit some radiation; so try to contain those by putting them in a different building (mine is in The Belle Writer’s Studio).
  • Never use a laptop or ereader while it is sitting right on your lap. If you have to, put a buffer between it and your body.

Do you worry about cell phone radiation, particularly if you have a small house or children?

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28 Responses

  1. I’ve long thought cell phones were linked with brain anomalies, including tumors/cancer. (I’ve had to do a lot of reporting on cell phones over the past 8 years.) Yet, when I’ve told people my thoughts on this subject, they didn’t believe me. But that might change with the new consensus report. When I use my cell phone I try to always use a headset, not a bluetooth which also can transmit radiation.

    • Kerri says:

      I know, Jeanine. I’ve had people look at me like I’m with the tin foil hat wearing brigade. My reasoning tells me if my body says it isn’t good for me, it isn’t.

  2. We chucked our microwave years ago too. I’m so glad! I keep thinking I won’t get a new one when my dying cell phone finally breaks for good. It’s hard to give up the convenience but I do think the evidence against them is building.

  3. sarah henry says:

    I’m with Melanie, I agreed to the cell phone for my middle schooler on the proviso that he text rather than call. I do worry about this generation’s developing brains and cell phone use.

    And I’m probably on that thing way too much myself. I dropped my iphone tonight, smashed the screen, and it was a replacement for an iphone that lasted less than two years. Apparently some moisture got in and destroyed the inner workings. Prior to my smart phone, I had a Nokia that lasted a dozen years.

    • Kerri says:

      A friend of mine posted on FB that she is getting her 7 year old a cell phone. 7!? I understand middle school and up, although I wish it weren’t so. I have a Nokia too, Sarah. Four years old and counting!

  4. My iPhone came with a earbuds that can also work for making calls–so not a Bluetooth. I wonder if those are any better.

    • Kerri says:

      If they are wireless, then they are not as it is then directing the EMF directly into your ear. Only wired headsets and earbuds work.

  5. I don’t have a microwave, and only use my cell phone for emergencies. I do, however, have a cordless phone in my house. That’s a little worrisome!

    • Kerri says:

      Kris, Cordless phones are not as bad as cell phones, but they still emit EMFs. I use my wired headset for almost all calls when I know I will be on it for awhile.

  6. Sheryl says:

    Every time I reach for my cell phone, I get an icky feeling that I’m doing something I should be doing. That said, it has become a way of life, and I protect myself as much as possible. I either use the speaker function or use a corded headset. I ditched my bluetooth a long time ago; it just never felt right to have something sticking into my ear, so close to my skull. Whether or not the jury is still out on this, there is enough “maybe” evidence to worry about it; we should all be vigilant.
    PS. Thanks for the mention and for addressing this important topic, Kerri!

  7. This is one of the only reasons I tolerate my teens’ style of texting rather than talking; at least the phone is away from their heads! We went to cell only a few years ago as part of my quest for simplicity so this is a big concern for me.

  8. Kerry says:

    I’ve never owned a microwave, and I still use a corded landline — corded just makes more sense here. the router is in another building. I don’t text (good to know there is some else who doesn’t), and use my cell phone very little — now if I could just find a plan that’d recognize that.

    I agree with Alexandra, though — it’s not too late to get people thinking about this, and taking action. thanks to you (and Sheryl, too) for writing about it.

  9. Jane Boursaw says:

    I worry more about the younger generation, because they’ll grow up without land lines and using mainly their cell phones. The good thing is that most kids use it more for texting, so don’t have the thing clomped to their head all day.

  10. Alexandra says:

    Do I ever worry! I have never had a cell and have always claimed microwaves were dangerous, although my kids never wanted to believe me. Thanks for the warning about the wireless devices, too. We have to have wireless for our B&B guests, but I will turn it off at night now. Had you

    I disagree with Mat. It is not too late. Momentum is growing as more and more people realize these things. We need to work hard, on blogs like this one, to spread the word, since the corporations are reluctant to keep us informed. Same goes for toxic chemicals in the environment.

  11. SABLE says:

    It’s not really something I’ve given much thought but I look at the cell phone as a tool I use for my benefit not the rest of the world. So very few people have my cell phone number and since I live in a “dead zone” it doesn’t work at my farm. And so I really don’t talk on it much, but do carry it in my vehicle for emergencies.

  12. I do worry about our wi-fi unit. Not so much for me (it’s in my office), but for Lilly (my border collie) who often sleeps under my desk in a spot that I’m pretty sure is in the router’s emf field.

  13. Almost every call I make from our land line is long distance and there is a ridiculous charge for it- even though some of the people I’m calling live less than five miles away! My cell phone is the cheapest way for me to make calls, but I guess this is one of those instances when I can actually be grateful for crappy reception- it discourages me from using it for much more than the most important calls I have to make. I use e-mail and instant messaging on facebook to contact people, more often than my cell phone. Now I know I need to limit its use even more- texting and speaker function are also great ideas for eliminating the need to hold the phone right next to my head. Good tips, Kerri!

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, Kathleen, I know all about those high priced calls to people that are close! Small rural telephone companies. 🙁

  14. kerri says:

    You’re probably right, Mat, for many people. That being said, I don’t know if I had researched the radiation emitted from wireless routers, if I would have had one installed here just 3 weeks ago. I agree with the cell phones and children. While they give comfort to parents of tweens and teens by being able to track, in some cases, their whereabouts, I worry for children who will have been using these most of their lives.

  15. mat says:

    IMO, it’s too late to be worried about cell phone radiation. I’m not saying that manufacturers can’t be working on better technology, but what we’ve got is so pervasive, it’s like saying that you shouldn’t drink cow’s milk.
    I think the biggest cell phone-related threat to kids is how it’s socially accceptable for 6-year-olds to have them. Seriously, how many other 6-year-olds are waiting for an update from the McDonalds playland?!