Cell Phone Safety Concerns

By Deirdre Imus

There is a general consensus that cell phone use while driving is a serious and potentially deadly highway distraction. The risks associated with cell phones, however, go far beyond their use in an automobile.

Cell phone safety has been studied and debated for decades. Although much remains unknown, recent studies investigating prolonged cell phone use over a ten-year period have suggested_

- - A significant risk - 50 percent and higher - of malignant brain tumors (glioma).

- - A 50 percent elevated risk of salivary gland tumors.

- - An association with non-cancerous inner ear tumors.

- - A higher rate of hospitalization for migraine and vertigo.

- - A significant risk of behavior issues and hyperactivity in children.

Along with these possible health affects, there is heightened alarm regarding the possible implication of long-term use among children.

If there is a significant elevated risk associated from use over ten years, what then are the health implications for children who began using cell phones in their teens?

As more and more children begin using cell phones at an earlier age, experts and safety advocates worry that the cumulative exposure of radiation could make them much more vulnerable. Many are now questioning whether wide-spread cell phone use might eventually prove to be as dangerous as smoking cigarettes at an early age.

Obviously, we are not going to stop using cell phones - the technology has become too convenient allowing us to be more productive - but the growing body of research is prompting new precautionary recommendations in other countries in an effort to respond to these health concerns. Some experts have even suggested the use of cell phones among teenagers today could lead to an "epidemic" of brain cancer later in life.

Health officials in Israel, Finland, Russia, Germany and Switzerland have recommended limiting cell phone use by children.

In 2008, the European Parliament voted 522 to 16 in favor of more stringent radiation limits.

Last January, the French government banned the advertising of cell phones to children and the use of cell phones in elementary schools. The government has indicated it intends to introduce limits for radiation and make handsets compulsory in and effort to avoid radiation exposure to the brain.

Here are a few practical steps you can take to help you reduce cell phone radiation exposure:

- - Choosing a cell phone with a lower SAR (specific absorption rate);

- - Use your landline if available;

- - Use a hands-free headset;

- - Test messaging can reduce radiation exposure by 400 percent;

- - Turn your phone off;

- - Do not allow your children to use cell phones or limit their use for specific purposes.

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (r) at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com