When my first child arrived, almost ten years ago, I had concerns back then about the effects of radiation emitted from cell phones, wireless devices, and Wi-Fi. I couldn’t find any definitive study results at the time on how radio frequency radiation (RFR) might be having an impact on my body or that of my baby’s, so to be safe, I may have went a bit overboard. I didn’t have Wi-Fi in the house, a cell phone, or anything beyond a lamp and clock plugged into our bedrooms.
I tried to keep that up as long as I could until a contractor finally looked at me and said, “I cannot run wires through your whole house to have wired internet everywhere. The only option for what you need is to have Wi-Fi.” It’s interesting how stressed I was about this. I must have been telling myself pretty scary stories about what RFRs were doing to me!
In order to stay reasonable and logical, I continued to examine the findings of RFR researchers and started to slowly introduce wireless mechanisms into our home. I also looked into how this could be done in a way to reduce the overall RFR emissions, particularly after finding this letter written by many scientists from around the world to the United Nations. The letter shared their concerns regarding the increased exposure by electric and wireless devices.
Now as a Head of School with students, devices, and Wi-Fi around all of us, I want to do what I can to keep our exposure and risk as low as possible.
Here are six suggestions to help reduce your RFR exposure:
According to the notification right on my phone, it is recommended I keep it 5 mm away from my body. Of course, it’s better to keep it even further away if you can. I never put my iPhone in my pocket and only carry it around in my purse. When I’m not on the go, I put it on a table away from me. Don’t put your phone near your baby or young child and show your older children how to keep it off their bodies.
I also use the speakerphone or headset ear buds when I need to make a call on my cell phone. I usually try to use my landline instead, whenever possible.
When I’m using my phone to read something, I don’t hold it in my hand. I set it down on a table or cushion and use one hand to touch the screen on the top. I ask my children and students to do the same.
Similarly, even though laptops have the word “lap” in them, don’t actually put them directly onto your lap. A cushion or portable lap table can help keep computers off of our bodies while using them without a table.
I leave my phone downstairs at night and my husband’s stays nearby, since his number is our emergency contact number. We keep his phone on a nightstand away from us while we're sleeping. This is certainly a recommendation that sleep educators and other parenting educators like myself strongly suggest for children and parents alike.
I learned that our mobile devices emit more RFRs when the charge gets low and also when you take it to an area with lots of walls that may have metal or concrete in them. The biggest spike in RFR emissions happens when we take our devices into an elevator (an isolated, small metal box).
Our devices have to work harder when their charge is low or it is difficult for it to connect to a tower, which means they emit more RFRs when doing that.
Our devices are constantly working to secure a signal. If we're moving, the device has to drop one tower and find the next. Again, this will cause the device to emit more RFR's.
We installed our home wireless router in the basement, so it works really well on the first floor where we really need it and hardly works on the second floor where the bedrooms are. This has a great side-benefit: we simply can’t use our devices in the bedroom. In our school, I’ve got the router as far away from the kids as it can get (while still holding a strong signal).
Cell phone radiation products can be applied to our phones, to reduce cell phone radiation. There are several products on the market, so picking the right one is important. Here are a few points to consider before you pick one up:
I came across a product called Lif3 Smartchip at an event I attended. The main reason I felt comfortable putting the Lif3 Smartchip on my phone (once it’s there, it’s there for good!) was that they posted the actual testing data on their website. I really like that the company had their products tested by three independent facilities.
Here's a picture of the Smartchip on the back of my iPhone 6 (bottom right hand corner):
I also like that the chip is thin and still makes it easy to put a hard case around my iPhone. After using it for a while, I haven’t noticed any difference in the signal strength. It was really easy to just stick it on the back of the phone. They actually give you a diagram so you know exactly where it needs to go. Lif3 Smartchips claim to and have the results to show they reduce cell phone radiation (when used correctly).
This picture shows how thin the Smartchip is on my phone - I can easily put that black case on top of it:
There are different chips designed for different phones so if you're looking at getting one, make sure to get the right one for your device.
I agree with all those scientists who I mentioned at the beginning of this post: it's critical to ask hard questions and learn what we can about the impact on all of the signals around us and the devices we have capturing those signals. For those in Canada, this document from our Minister of Health explains what is happening at the federal government level regarding the study of RFRs.
It's very important that we educate ourselves, form our own opinions, and demand more research on the effects of radio frequency radiation in our lives.