Pediatricians express concern over growing cellphone use, radiation exposure for children

As more young children are getting their hands on cellphones, more pediatricians have growing concerns over how increased cellphone use may be impacting their health.

Even when you're not talking on your phone, cellphones do emit radiation when they're connected to the internet or searching for a signal.

Now that phones are used for more than just talking, but texting, streaming music and searching the web, pediatricians fear children are exposed to radiation from cellphones more than ever.

The younger the child, the more vulnerable they might be to potentially harmful exposure.

"It's the proximity of the cellphone to the temporal bone. The temporal bone happens to be the thinnest bone in the skull. For babies, it's even thinner," said Dr. Jaime Marchand, a Pediatrician for the Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Hospital.

Cellphone providers say they follow FCC guidelines surrounding how much radiation a cellphone can emit. But now, more groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics are pushing for the FCC to reassess their radiation standards.

Regulations were first put into place in 1996, and have not been updated since then, although cellphone usage and technology has increased significantly in the last 20 years.

"I don't think anybody was prepared for the onslaught of the popularity of the cellphones," Marchand said.

There is no scientific evidence supporting that radiation from cellphones causes cancer of other health problems, but until something proves that it doesn't, Marchand says parents should be cautious.

"I wouldn't be so comfortable letting kids have a cellphone next to their ear all day," Marchand said.

There are some things you can do decrease potential cell phone radiation exposure:

  • Maximize the distance between you and your phone. Talk using the speaker or a headset.
  • Try not to leave your phone in your pocket. Even leaving a couple inches of space between your phone and your body can reduce exposure several thousand times.
  • Don't sleep with your phone on your pillow
  • Use your phone when you have a stronger cellphone signal. Your phone can emit more radiation if it has to work to get a signal
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