How To Lessen Mobile Phone Health Risks

By Mike Wheeler

By Mike Wheeler

A 10 year study is about to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the connection between brain cancer and mobile phone usage. While the study states there is no clear link, it cannot be ruled out that heavy usage does not contribute to possible brain tumours. The authors of the work believe further study is needed, with the European Union stepping up to the plate to fund such a project. But while these studies are going on, it leaves people unsure as to what they should do in regard to usage. Mobile users will be glad to hear that manufacturers are now producing phones with lower radiation emissions, but that doesn't allay the fears of those who would err on the side of caution when getting into the mobile market. While the report is inconclusive about what harm a mobile phone can do, we thought we'd put together some tips on how to reduce any perceived harm a mobile phone may or may not cause.

5) Use Hands-Free
The biggest problem with mobile phones and their alleged link to brain cancers, is the radiation that comes out of the handsets. Detractors claim that it's no coincidence that a lot of these brain cancers occur on the same side of the head where most people put the phone when using it. Why not use hands-free? Radiation loses it's impact the further it is moved away from the object it is affecting. You know those people you see walking around that appear to be talking into a widget connected to their portable earphones? That widget is connected to their mobile phone and they are talking to somebody, so they do not hold the device up to the ear. You might look funny walking along talking to yourself, but there is zero radiation being sent towards the skull.

4) Text When Possible
Why not text when possible? On most plans, texting is cheaper and it negates the need to put the phone up to your ear. Ask yourself, do you really need to hear the other person's voice? Or will a text get the message across? The only downside is how proficient you are at hitting the keypad – some phones have slider QWERTY keypads, which are really easy to use. Others have a tiny pad, which can be a little cumbersome, especially if you are in a hurry. We realise that this is not always convenient but it will cut down on talk time.

3) Don't Get Rid of Your Landline
At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, don't get rid of your landline and use it for long calls. Why the hypocrisy? My wife and I made a decision earlier this year to get rid of our landline because we never use it and our internet is wireless. However, we do adhere to numbers 2, 4 and 5 on this list, so this advice is aimed clearly at those who have their mobile glued to their ear 24/7. Better still make land calls through VOIP using a Naked DSL connection. The calls are so cheap and you don't get that 'hot' feeling on a cordless phone after long conversations.

2) Get A Smartphone For its Internet Capabilities
If you have a smartphone, it means it is has 3G capabilities so you can connect to the internet, which in turn means you can email friends, family and work colleagues. Again, this negates the need to have the mobile near your ear 24/7, and you can also write a lot more in an email than you can via text. In business, it can also serve as a record of what has occurred – something a phone call cannot do unless it has been recorded.

1) Use the Phone Sporadically/Keep Calls Short
You know, it wasn't that long ago that we got by just fine without mobile phones. Ok, so now it is not realistic to ask people to give them up, but just think before you dial. How necessary is the phone call? Can it wait until I see the person? What are the consequences if I don't call? Overall, there are a lot of unnecessary phone calls being made, especially by socially savvy teenagers. The big winners are the Telcos and their management and shareholders. If a phone call is not vital, don't make it. Finally, keep the phone away from your face when you go to sleep – in other words away from your bedside dresser.