Smart Woman: The Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation

Cell phones have been widely used for only about 15 years, so it may be too soon to know how they affect our health. But there are precautions you can take now.

Are cell phones safe or harmful? The Federal Communications Commission, which sets guidelines for how much radiation a cell phone can emit, says cell phones are safe. The World Health Organization is taking the step of calling cell phones a possible carcinogen, which is a cancer-causing agent. Putting them in the same cancer-risk category as lead paint and diesel exhaust.

How does cell phone radiation affect us? The concern of what a lot of scientists will use to describe it is they're saying it sort of causes a "heating up" of the brain, much like an egg, for example, that's being cooked. And children's brains may be more vulnerable. Their skulls are just thinner, so when you talk about the radiation, it's easier to get through because of those thin skulls. Cell phone safety manuals actually tell us to keep the phone about 1/2 an inch to 1 inch away from the head.

Here's the good news: It's really simple to lower your exposure. Never talk with a phone directly against your head, use an earpiece, and don't keep the phone directly on your body.

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