American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Issues New Recommendations Regarding Cell Phone Exposure

 In Health

The largest group of doctors in the United States has issued new recommendations on the use and exposure to cellular telephone in response to a US National Toxicology Program (NTP) study. The results found that exposure to wireless radiation significantly increased the prevalence of highly malignant cardiac and brain tumors in rodents.

The chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Healgth Executive Committee cautioned that, “the more we can keep it off the body and use (the phone) in other ways, it will be safer.”

Dr. Ronald Melnick, PhD, the National Institute of Health toxicologist who lead the NTP study said, “The findings of brain tumors (gliomas) and malignant schwann cell tumors of the heart in the NTP study, as well as DNA damage in brain cells, present a major public health concern because these occurred in the same types of cells that have been reported to develop into tumors in epidemiological studies of adult cell phone users. For children the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents.”

As such the AAP has issued the following cell phone safety tips to help reduce exposure to wireless radiation:

  • Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • Do not talk on the phone or text while driving. This increases the risk of automobile crashes.
  • Exercise caution when using a phone or texting while walking or performing other activities. “Distracted walking” injuries are also on the rise.
  • Switch to airplane mode in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.
  • Remember that cell phones are not toys or teething items.

Adam Gavsie, MD
Medical Director of The Montreal Centre for Integrative Medicine Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University