CDPH Guidelines to Reduce Exposure to RF Energy from Cell Phones

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidelines for individuals and families who want to decrease their exposure to the radio frequency energy emitted from cell phones. The CDPH notes that the scientific community has not reached a consensus on the risks of cell phone use, and says that research suggests long-term high use may impact human health.

The CDPH advises that the way to reduce your exposure to radio frequency energy that comes from cell phones is to keep your phone away from your body. “Keeping your phone just a few feet away from you can make a big difference.”

Here are some suggestions from the CDPH:

  • When you talk on your cell phone, avoid holding it to your head – use the speakerphone or a headset instead.
  • Send text messages instead of talking on the phone.
  • If you are streaming or if you are downloading or sending large files, try to keep the phone away from your head and body.
  • Carry your cell phone in a backpack, briefcase, or purse, NOT in a pocket, bra, or belt holster. The CDPH explains: “Because the phone’s antenna tries to stay connected with a cell tower whenever its on, it emits some RF energy even when you are not using it. It does not emit RF energy when its in airplane mode.”
  • Reduce or avoid using your cell phone when it is sending out high levels of RF energy. This happens mainly when: You see only one or two bars displayed; You are in a fast moving car, bus, or train; You are streaming audio or video, or downloading or sending large files.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone in your bed or near your head.
  • Take off the headset when you’re not on a call.

The CDPH feels that children may be more at risk for harm from exposure to RF energy than adults. They pointed out a few reasons for that concern.

  • RF energy can reach a larger area of a child’s brain than an adult’s brain.
  • A child’s brain and body grow and develop through the teen years. During that time, the body may be more easily affected by RF energy and the effect may be more harmful and longer lasting.
  • A child who uses a cell phone will have many more years of exposure to RF energy in his or her lifetime than someone who started using a cell phone as an adult.