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How do I resolve the fact that I love my cell phone?

When somebody learns that I am health researcher with a focus on environmental radiation from sources such as the geomagnetic field and radiowaves, I often find myself deluged with all kinds of questions.  The most common question I get is, “do you use a cell phone?”.  I usually smile an impish grin and pull out my iPhone.  While I go to extraordinary lengths to remove unnecessary wireless sources within my house, I acknowledge that I cannot escape the transmitted radiation from cell phone towers.  Short of moving to wireless free zones such as the beautiful Slocan Valley in B.C. or much more remote areas, the exposure is all around and easily passing through our whimpy wood frame, drywall homes.  

Is there increased exposure to non-ionizing radiation when holding the phone next to your head?  Yep.  So why do I take the risk?  With every decision I make in life, whether it is choosing to use a cell phone or buy a new car or putting kids in certain schools, I examine the data and the pros and cons.  With cell phones, the research is not equivocal for a causal relationship with brain cancer.  Of course, this was the case with cigarettes and lung cancer too.  Remember that not only is this technology VERY new but the early studies examined cell phones of MUCH lower power.  In the mean time, I use my phone judiciously and watch the research.

So back to why I use a cell phone and how I resolve the potential health risk.  Firstly, I limit my time on cell phones.  If I have to make a call that will last more than 5 minutes – I use a land line (not a cordless phone).  Texting at least keeps the phone away from your noggin.  I treat my phone as any tool that is useful with some potential health hazards – I use it responsibly.  Having a drink of wine once and awhile probably won’t hurt you but drinking 3 bottles a day might.  Same goes with the cell phone.  A few minutes a day – likely fine.   A couple of hours a day….not so good.  

Finally, I will never forget my experience in Quebec city (my favourite city in Canada!).  I was there for approx 1 week.  I ate out 3 times a day in restaurants.  Everyday and every meal, the restaurants were packed. At breakfast, lunch and dinner I watched people who were passionately engaged in conversation.  People made eye contact with each other and seemed to enjoy each other’s company.  Why did I take notice of this?  In the week I was there, I don’t recall seeing ANY cell phones used at all.  In fact, there was not even a cell phone on the table!  WOW!  They are surviving without cell phones!  Incroyable!

brett

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