So far, it has not been proven that the radiation from mobile phones is harmful to their users. But on the foundation of current scientific knowledge, health risks relating to long-term, frequent mobile phone use cannot be ruled out. Experts – including those on the Superior Health Council – advise everyone to limit their exposure to mobile phone radiation. The following simple tips will help you. They have been ranked in order of importance: the first tips lower your exposure more than the last ones.
Limit your calling time
Avoid unnecessary or excessively long phone conversations with your mobile phone: the longer you call for, the longer you are exposed to radio waves. Because a mobile phone is held close to the head, a person making a call is exposed to a relatively large radiation level. Also, remember that the exposure is greatest during the first few seconds, when the phone is searching for a connection. For this reason, you should wait a moment before putting your mobile phone to your ear.
Good to know
Devices that claim to reduce or negate radiation (such as ‘anti-radiation’ or ‘bio-protectors’) have not proven their effectiveness. On the contrary, an anti-radiation sticker or microchip you stick on your mobile phone can even have the reverse effect: the mobile phone will increase its power to guarantee the quality of the signal. The mobile phone battery will also drain more quickly.
Use an earpiece
When you use an earpiece the distance to your mobile phone is greater and therefore your exposure is less. If you don’t have an earpiece at hand you can call with the loudspeaker on.
Good to know
There are different earpieces ('hands-free kits') on the market: wired and wireless. With which types is exposure less?
A Bluetooth earpiece is wirelessly connected to your mobile phone so transmits radio waves. Exposure due to a Bluetooth earpiece is, however, very small: 300 - 1,000 times lower than a mobile phone. To sum up: if you want to reduce your exposure, using an earpiece (wired or wireless) is a good option.
Send messages instead of calling
When you send a message exposure is much lower. After all, your mobile phone is kept at a distance from your body. Moreover, your mobile phone only sends a short signal.
Preferably call in places with good reception
Your mobile phone automatically adjusts its transmitting power to ensure a good connection quality. In a vehicle, elevator, underground car park, or in a location where the network is less extensive, for example, you have poor reception and your mobile phone increases its power. This also increases the exposure. For that reason, keep an eye on the bars that indicate reception and give preference to places where the reception is optimum: the more bars, the better the reception.
Good to know
In places with optimal reception the transmission power of your device, and therefore also of your exposure, may be thousand times smaller than the maximum power.
Children and mobile phones
The use of the mobile phone by children is a special point of attention. Children may be more sensitive to radio waves. Children absorb twice as much radiation in the brain than adults do, and 10 times more in the bone marrow of the skull. In addition, due to the popularity of the mobile phone, the cumulative exposure of the current generation of children will be much higher by the time they reach their adulthood than that of the current adults.
Discuss with your children the way that they are allowed to use their mobile phones (for example, sending messages is allowed, or playing, but call only when it is really necessary, preferably using the speakerphone). From the 1st of March 2014 no more mobile phones may be sold which have been designed specifically for small children. You can learn more about this in the section on mobile phone and children.
Choose a mobile phone with a lower SAR value
The SAR value is mentioned in the instructions for use for your phone or on the internet. From the 1st of March 2014 the SAR value must also be available at any point of sale besides any mobile phone device, as well in case of sale through the Internet. The choice of mobile phone model is important, but the way you use the phone is much more important.
Good to know
The official limit value in Europe for the SAR of a mobile phone is 2 W/kg. The CE mark is proof that a mobile phone has been tested and complies with the European safety standards. In some countries an additional label is given to mobile telephones with a lower SAR value. To obtain the Swedish TCO label a mobile phone may have a maximum SAR of 0.8 W/kg. The German Blaue Engel quality mark requires 0.6 W/kg as the criterion to come into consideration for the quality mark.
Mobile phoning and driving: do not mix
In conclusion, a practical tip: do not use your mobile phone while driving. Even with a hands-free set, your attention is distracted from traffic. The use of a mobile phone while driving significantly increases the risk of an accident: by 75% when the mobile phone is held in the hand, and by 24% with a hands-free device.