Cell phones are so commonplace these days, we rarely stop to consider whether they're healthy or not. But a new set of guidelines from the California Department of Public Health reminded us that our phones are emitting electromagnetic radiation whenever they're in use. So should we freak out?
In a word, no. The CDPH explained that radio frequency energy—the kind of radiation your phone emits—probably isn't great for you, but it also won't kill you. Most likely. We don't really know the long-term effects of frequent cell phone use, but some studies say it could be linked to certain health problems, including brain cancer and tumors, a lower sperm count, headaches, and decreased mental function.
But please: Don't freak out. Or throw your phone out the window. We said could be linked not is linked. But if you want to dial back your screen time just in case, the CDPH suggested a few (super-doable) ways to reduce exposure to RF energy:
1. Use speakerphone, headphones, or a headset.
2. Text more.
3. Don't store your phone in your pocket.
4. Don't use your phone in fast-moving vehicles.
5. Use your phone only when you have good service.
6. Don't sleep with your phone by your pillow.
Ultimately, it's not practical to follow all these recommendations all the time. But if you can manage to do even a few of them every once in a while, you could be doing your future self a favor.