A New York Times article from January 1, 2016 addresses recent changes in CDC language regarding cell phone use and health:
“When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines 18 months ago regarding the radiation risk from cellphones, it used unusually bold language on the topic for the American health agency: ‘We recommend caution in cellphone use.'”
“Within weeks, though, the C.D.C. reversed course. It no longer recommended caution, and deleted a passage specifically addressing potential risks for children.”
What happened in the meantime to motivate the CDC to change language? Apparently concerns about liability. If cell phones and Wi-Fi present a health risk, what does this mean for libraries who offer free Wi-Fi and allow patrons to use cell phones?
Investigations into the change brought to light division in the scientific community on cell phone use and health impact. However, the most cited study on cell phones, the one which according to many researchers, does not imply clear risk association, was based on usage rates that are laughable compared to how most cell phone users interact with their phones.
“The median call time in the study was two to two and a half hours per month. A Nielsen study in 2014 found that Americans used smartphones more than 34 hours a month, on average, though more often for games or social media than for communications.”
When you consider the fact that many Americans sleep with their cell phones on their night stands, just a foot or so away from their heads, and many children sleep with their cell phones under their pillows at night, exposure time is much much higher than 34 hours a month for these users. Many people have their cell phones on their bodies nearly 24/7. Even when not in direct use, smart phones are connecting to cell phone towers all day long, searching for updates and just establishing connection signals, so exposure is constant.
Whether governmental bodies like the CDC are ready to issue warnings or not, it is important for concerned individuals like ourselves to be proactive in protecting ourselves through reduced exposure.