New safety message for cell phone users - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New safety message for cell phone users

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

California health officials have a new safety message for cell phone users. For the first time ever, the California Department of Public Health is releasing guidelines about cell phone radiation and its risks.

Some public health officials suggest a possible connection between cell phone use and the risk of brain tumors, low sperm count, headaches, and memory loss.  California health officials say long-term and high use may impact your health. But a radiologist at Memorial Hospital said there is no need to worry.

The science is still evolving. It is not clear at this time if radio waves from cell phones can harm people.

“There is not a declaration that these are actually dangerous, there is some evidence that there might be," Radiologist Charles Piez said. There is evidence that they might not be."

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency, which is radiation emitted by cellphones, as a possible cause of cancer in humans.

“People have been exposed to radio waves since, not centuries, but certainly since the 1920's," Piez explained. "Radio in your car, you receive the radio waves from that.”

Charles Piez has been a radiologist for over 30 years. He began his career long before cell phones became popular.

“No, I didn't really see a change, any sort of gradual change or sudden change, when cell phones became available,” Piez said.

The amount of time a person is on the phone, whether or not a person is using a hands-free device
or the different model phones can change how much radiation someone absorbs.

“The point of this is they have it close to their head for long periods of time," Piez said. "That is what they are concerned about.”

The FDA, Cancer Society, and other national organizations are now also studying the topic. But until there are consistent results, there are several things people who are concerned can do to limit their exposure.

“They mostly use distance," Piez explained. "They actually say if you are not using your phone, do not keep it in your pocket, and put it on the table. If you are done with the conversation, take your earbuds out.”

Cellphone use is higher than ever. 95 percent of Americans use a cellphone on a daily basis.

California State officials have released a list of things you can do to limit exposure:

  • Reduce cellphone use when the signal is weak
  • Reduce the use of cellphones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keep the phone away from the bed at night
  • Remove headsets when not on a call
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