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Health Updates: Cell Phone EMF & Dangers for Our Kids

If cell phone exposure is considered potentially dangerous for children, then what does that mean for the rest of us? An April 2017 article in Healio’s Pediatric Annals, Current Understanding of the Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, details the most up-to-date information and studies of the health effects of EMF in regards to children and cell phone use.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the article and what we should know about EMF radiation produced by cell phones and whether these devices cause an increase in health risks for our children:

What is EMF?

  • Electromagnetic fields, also referred to as EMF radiation, are invisible waves of energy that can be emitted from electronic devices at varying levels of strength.
  • The amount of EMF emitted differs depending on the source or electronic device.
  • EMF is typically categorized by two types: Non-Ionizing and Ionizing.
  • Non-Ionizing radiation, or low-energy radiation, is defined in the low to mid-frequency radiation level and thought to be less harmful. While Ionizing types, high-energy radiation waves, are defined to have mid to high-frequency radiation levels and more dangerous.
  • Studies continue to examine the potential health effects of non-ionizing EMF radiation that can come from various devices including cell phones.

How does EMF affect the body?

  • The human body absorbs energy from devices that emit EMFs.
  • When the body is exposed to EMFs, a cellular stress response is triggered.
  • A stress response can cause damage to our body cells, and even our DNA, which can increase our risk for developing or activating cancerous cells.

Recent EMF Study Findings

  • The most recent medical and health studies on EMF radiation and cell phones are dated to 2016 and prior, with more scheduled for 2017 and the future.
  • A peer-reviewed, multi-year study performed by the National Toxicology Program  on the effects of extremely low frequency-electromagnetic frequency (ELF-EMF) radiation exposure on rats resulted in findings of the development of two types of malignant tumors in the study subjects.
  • 2500+ rats were exposed to two types of common ELF-EMF radiation for 10-minute on, 10-minute off increments, totaling just over 9 hours a day from before birth through 2 years of age.
  • The findings revealed that there appeared to be a cancer tumor association found in the brain and heart, specifically in male rats.

Cell Phone Use Recommendations for Children

  • The findings of these studies resulted in recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit children’s use of cell phones by reducing their exposure to these potentially harmful radiation sources – and includes the following:
  • Encourage children to use text messaging instead of making extended phone calls.
  • Only make phone calls when necessary and for short periods of time.
  • Use hands-free kits and wired headsets when making calls.
  • Maintain a cell phone distance of an inch or more away from the head.
  • Try to limit to less than 2 hours of cell phone and television use per day.

Summary & Conclusions

  • The current findings indicate a necessity for more studies to further determine cell phone and EMF health risks.
  • With the need for more research, it may be best to err on the side of caution and not only limit our children’s cell phone use, but also our own, while also following the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Updates: Additional Reading & Information: What is Too Close? Investigation Reveals People Don’t Know Cell Phone Safety Distances

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