When it comes to the dangers of EMF radiation, most people’s initial introduction is through the use of cell phones. Cell phones emit an enormous amount of radio frequency radiation at a very close distance and therefore have been linked in hundreds of studies to significant long-term and short-term negative health effects. With iPhone’s being the most popular phone in the world, many people want to know just how significant iPhone radiation is, and what we can do to protect ourselves.
I want to start off by talking a little bit about why exposure to EMF radiation from iPhones and other smartphones is dangerous, and then we’ll talk about 21 different ways you can reduce your exposure!
iPhone Radiation – What You Need To Know
First of all, iPhones emit EMF radiation in the form of Radio Frequency (RF) radiation. Your phone emits radiation constantly (even when they’re not in use) but emits especially large amounts when transmitting or receiving data via phone calls, texts, streaming videos, browsing social media, etc.
The reason for this is that RF radiation from a cell-phone is sent in packets, and does not emit consistently like would be the case with magnetic or electric field radiation.
These packets are much larger when operating the phone, and therefore the radiation your body is exposed to is obviously much higher.
This radiation from your iPhone absolutely is dangerous.
You may hear it argued, that because cell-phone manufacturers, at least in the United States, must meet radiation exposure limits, called specific absorption rates (SAR), that they must not be dangerous. However, if you read my article on SAR rates, you’ll understand why they are a truly horrible measure of how dangerous cell phones are, and why they do almost nothing to protect us from these dangers.
In fact, at this point, the increased risk from using cell-phones, like your iPhone, are well established, and hundreds of studies have been published.
- Even low levels of EMF radiation can be carcinogenic to humans
- Single, and double-strand DNA damage
- “…effects on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy”
The Interphone study was published in 2010 and is the largest and most comprehensive study published on the relationship between cell phone risk, and negative health effects. The conclusions found that:
- If you use your cell phone for as little as 30 minutes a day, after 10 years you will have a 40% increased risk of developing a brain tumor.
- That you are considered “high risk” if you’ve used your phone 1640 hours in your lifetime. This “high-risk group” is 2 times more likely to develop a brain tumor in the temporal lobe. When holding your cell-phone close to your head, the temporal lobe is the area of the brain closest to the antenna.
- When brain tumors were found in the test group, they were twice as likely to be found on the side of the head where the cell phone was used.
This is just a small sampling, but if you’d like to completely immerse yourself in the enormous amount of studies that show the health effects of cell phone use, here is a list of 139 papers as well as their conclusions. The links don’t seem to work, but if you just google them they will come up.
Ok, now that we’ve talked a little bit about how, and why, cell-phone radiation is dangerous, let’s talk about ways we can reduce the damage!
17 Ways To Reduce iPhone Radiation
1. Only Use Your iPhone When You Need To
I know, I know, this is obvious. However, not enough people actually consider this option. The absolute best way to reduce our exposure to EMF radiation is simply to remove and reduce the use of, our most dangerous devices.
When you’re making phone calls, try to not talk longer than you must. Remember that biological damage from EMF radiation is cumulative, so any possible reductions will go a long way in protecting your body.
I get it, in this day and age it is almost impossible to not have, and use, a smartphone. So although your best option for protection is to dramatically lower your use of the device, the best way you can protect yourself from your iPhone when you’re using it, is to get a quality case.
Essentially though, the way the SafeSleeve case works, is that the front flap has a sheet of EMF blocking material. So after making, or answering a phone call, you just flip the cover closed and talk normally. This reduces radiation by close to 100%, without interrupting or disturbing the use of the device, and without hurting reception or call quality.
DefenderShield also makes a high-quality EMF protection cell phone case that works very similar to the SafeSleeve product.
There are many, many, other products on the market that claim to protect you against radiation from cell-phone. However, I’d really urge you to check out the websites of these products and ensure that they have published research and studies that you can personally review, showing that they work.
I am running into an increasing number of products entering the market as people become more aware of this danger. The vast majority of these products have absolutely no basis on which to make protection claims if they make any at all. They prey on people’s fear and assume they won’t look into how the product works. So regardless of what you buy, try to make sure it is from a reputable company, with published information.
3. Distance Is Your Friend
If you’ve read some of the other posts on EMF Academy, you’ll notice that I often mention something called the Inverse Square Law of Physics. Essentially this law states that as we double our distance from a source of EMF radiation (in this case your iPhone), we quarter our exposure to it. So, any distance you can get from your iPhone will dramatically reduce your exposure.
Even Apple on their own website says that to reduce radiation from your iPhone: “use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories.” They mention this because they understand that the closer you hold the device to your head, the higher your exposure will be.
4. Wait Until The Call Has Started
If you do plan to use your iPhone next to your head, wait until after the call has started. Many cell-phones have been known to emit much radiation as they are attempting to connect to another device. This is because it can take much more power to establish the call, then it does to maintain it.
So when you’re making a call, wait until the call shows that it has connected before putting your iPhone to your ear. When receiving a phone call, wait 1 or 2 seconds after answering to put to your ear. This will help to reduce the spike of RF radiation you may have been exposed to.
5. Don’t Carry Your iPhone On Your Body
Today’s modern phones emit radiation all the time, even when we’re not using them. They do this to keep apps updated, to keep your GPS location up to date, to receive notifications and texts, etc.
Because of this, many people make the mistake of assuming that they are not exposing themselves to much radiation if they are not holding their phone against their head. However, keeping your iPhone in your pocket, or in your bra, or anywhere else directly on your body can expose your organs to large amounts of EMF radiation, and this should be avoided.
Instead, try keeping your phone in places like your purse, or backpack. Although ideally, you’d have your iPhone in airplane mode, just getting this small amount of increased distance will really reduce your radiation exposure.
6. Make Calls On Your iPhone When You Have A Good Signal
When your phone has only a few bars, it dramatically increases power consumption, as well as radiation emissions, in order to maintain and improve that signal. In fact, some studies have found that radiation emissions from your cell-phone can increase by as much as 1000 times when at one bar or less.
So, you can really lower your exposure by keeping an eye on the connection bars at the top left of the screen on your iPhone. When your reception is poor, try to improve it before making a call. Try stepping outside, or getting near a window. If your phone has a clear line to the nearest cell tower, you’ll actually be exposed to far less radiation.
Some people might argue that you’d then be more vulnerable to radiation from the cell tower, but at a range, this is almost nothing compared to your increased risk from your phone. Remember that distance is key when it comes to EMF radiation, so exposure from your iPhone while using it will certainly be a much higher risk than stepping a few feet closer to a cell tower.
7. Get Your Cell Phone Away From Your Children
I probably should have put this higher on the list, because honestly, it’s extremely important. Recent studies have found that children who use mobile phones are 5 times more likely to develop a type of brain cancer called acoustic neuroma. Although often benign, this tumor of the auditory nerve often causes deafness.
In the UK scientists are urging stricter regulations over phone regulation, stating that there is likely to be an epidemic of disease as children who grow up with smart-phones, tablets, and laptops will likely have far higher risks of certain cancers and other health effects.
The primary reason for this is that children’s skulls are much thinner, and do far less at protecting the brain from radiation exposure.
Take a look at the image below to get a better visual understanding of how skull thickness protects the brain from radiation penetration.
If you plan to give your child a phone for emergencies, consider getting a simple flip phone that has emergency numbers programmed in, instead of getting an iPhone or other smartphones.
If you do get an iPhone, iPad, or other devices, consider getting a protection case like I talked about above to reduce exposure.
8. AirPlane Mode Is Your Friend
If you have a quality EMF meter, you can run a simple test to see just how much radiation is reduced when your phone is put into airplane mode. Although our phones emit far more radiation when we are operating them, they emit a large amount just simply by staying connected.
Place your phone on a desk or table, and set your EMF meter next to it, switched into Radio Frequency mode. If you have for instance the Trifield TF2, be sure to look at the “peak” level readings, and not the general display. Since iPhones and other smartphones transmit data in packets, you need to look at peak level readings in order to understand how much radiation is actually being emitted.
Take note of the last few readings, if you have an iPhone, these will likely be somewhere around 5-20 mW/m². Now, as the meter is continuing to read, simply turn your iPhone into airplane mode (just swipe up, and tap the little airplane logo). Notice that the radio frequency readings drop to almost nothing.
Now, this does not mean that your phone isn’t still emitting some electric field, magnetic field, and even a tiny bit of radio frequency radiation, but you will cut your radiation exposure tremendously.
This is fantastic for whenever you do not need to be using your phone, but would still like it close by. If for instance, you MUST have your phone next to you at night, this is a great way to reduce exposure without ruining your ability to use your phone as an alarm clock (although there are better options!)
I talk a bit about Air Tube headsets, in fact, I wrote up the most comprehensive guide to Air Tube headsets on the web. This is for good reason. Air tube headsets look roughly like a normal pair of headphones but hide powerful radiation reduce capabilities.
Essentially an air tube headset operates by first sending sound through normal wiring, to a small speaker halfway up the set. This speaker then transmits the sound through a literal tube of air, so that all that is reaching your brain is harmful sound waves.
LIke we talked about above, distance is your best friend when it comes to EMF radiation, and that is what these headsets allow you to do. Not only do they allow you to get a ton of distance from your phone while using it, they also eliminate the radiation you would be exposing yourself to from a normal pair of headphones, or possibly even worse, a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
If you get a good pair of Air Tube Headphones (like my top pick from DefenderShield), they will have a mic and volume control below the air tube, so you can use them for talking on the phone while driving, or out for a walk.
In addition, good air tube headphones don’t sacrifice much in the way of sound quality. Although some provide very poor sound, many actually have a fantastic sound, although might be slightly different than you are used to after transmitting through the air tube.
10. Use Speaker Phone
If you don’t have a pair of Air Tube headphones to talk with, consider making most of your calls with speakerphone. This is especially practical when you are driving. Not only is it safer to operate your vehicle without holding your phone, you’ll also be reducing radiation.
For the same reasons we talked about above (reminder: distance is key) speakerphone give you a reliable way to talk on the phone without holding it against your brain.
11. Don’t Operate Your iPhone In Your Car
This is for a few reasons, first of all, EMF radiation has a tendency to bounce around vehicles since they are essentially large metal boxes. This bouncing around can amplify your exposure to the radiation being emitted. Essentially a Faraday cage effect, your vehicle will magnify the radiation and increase the amount absorbed into your body.
The second reason to not operating your phone in your vehicle is that moving will cause your phone to constantly scan to find new cell towers as it attempts to maintain a strong signal. This constant scanning increases the power consumption of your phone, and therefore the radiation emissions will be increased.
If you want to know more about EMF radiation from the vehicles themselves, check out my full post on the topic.
Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, is an indicator of how much EMF radiation body tissue absorbs when you’re using a cell phone and is one way to measure and compare the harm of different devices. The SAR rating for phones is the only mandated rating that the FCC requires phone manufacturers publish in relation to EMF radiation exposure levels.
Although it is sort of help that there is a mandated rating system we can use for comparison, it surprisingly gives very limited information when you thoroughly understand it.
I wrote a full post on the SAR rating of modern phones, and within it is a chart of most phones (including iPhones) if you’re interested in reading more about this topic.
So, why aren’t SAR ratings a good way to select a phone? (To save some. time, I’m just going to steal this from my SAR article I linked in the previous sentence):
- Children’s brains absorb double the radiation on average of an adult brain, and SAR levels are based on an adult brain.
- SAR levels only give us information about how much radiation they emit when in use against the body, but do not tell us about how much radiation they emit when not in use. For example, cell phones and computers can have a significant impact on male fertility due to constant EMF exposure.
- The dummies that are used for testing, only contain liquid. Many people have metal fillings, earrings, wear glasses, etc. and all of these can impact how the radiation is absorbed and amplified.
- There is a growing body of researchers and scientists that believe that the 1.6 w/kg limit for SAR ratings of modern phones is FAR higher than what is actually safe, and should be changed.
The bottom line is, SAR ratings are not a great indicator of how safe a phone is, and actually does very little in helping people navigate the confusing world of cellphone radiation safety.
13. Making A Quick Call? Consider Texting Instead
Although sending a quick text DOES emit some radiation (this can easily be tested with an EMF Meter), it is far, far, less than the radiation you are exposed to during a short call.
So if you just need to relay a quick message, consider shooting out a text instead.
Pro Tip: Hold your phone out away from your body when you hit “send” to lower your exposure during the brief data transmission.
14. Use Your Cell Phone Less When You Are Tired Or Sick
Just like with any other biological danger, your body is less able to defend itself when it is tired or sick, and your immune system is compromised. Cell phone radiation is received by receptors in the cell membrane and begins a chain reaction of cell destruction that ultimately causes many of the health effects we see, including tumors (for the FULL story of how EMF radiation actually harms the body, on a scientific level, check out this guest post I wrote.
The bottom line is, when our bodies are tired or sick, just like anything else, they will have a harder time protecting themselves from the biological harm of Cell phone radiation. So consider being even more cautious of radiation sources when you aren’t feeling well.
15. Keep Your Apps Closed
A surprising number of people aren’t aware that every app they open on their iPhone, runs continually in the background until it is specifically closed out. Many people assume that when they are operating an app, and then click the home button, that the app is no longer running.
However, the app continues to run in the background. In order to close out of apps, double tap the home button, and you will see windowed versions of all the apps you have running. Simply swipe up on each app to close it out.
When these apps are running in the background, they are staying connected and updated, and therefore requiring the phone using more power, as well as operate more radio frequency, ultimately emitting more radiation.
As a bonus, this will dramatically improve the battery life of your iPhone.
16. Don’t Sleep Next To Your iPhone
If you’ve read my guide on EMFs in the bedroom, it should be abundantly clear to you that sleeping next to your cell phone (or god forbid with your cell phone under your pillow) is an enormous hazard.
First of all, to quote that article:
EMF’s dramatically affect the quality of our sleep. One primary reason for this was revealed in a study conducted by the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne, that showed EMF’s impede the bodies production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Interestingly, this happens because the pineal gland (where the melatonin is produced) senses the EMF’s as light, and therefore slows the melatonin production.
On top of the worse sleep, you will be getting, you will simply be dramatically increasing your cumulative exposure to EMF radiation, increasing your chance of developing the many health effects we’ve discussed in this article.
From the same article, here are the three best alternatives to sleeping next to your iPhone:
- Good Solution: Set your phone on airplane mode, and place it across the room. This will almost eliminate your exposure to EMF radiation from the phone, while still allowing you to use it as an alarm clock.
- Better Solution: Leave your cell phone in the same place, but instead of putting it in airplane mode, just turn it off and get a simple mechanical alarm clock. I have this one from Amazon (Warning: Extremely Loud!)
- Best Solution: Although turning off your cell phone is your best bet, the absolute best thing you can do is get in the habit of not even bringing it into the bedroom. If you bring it in but tell yourself you’re going to turn it off, you’re going to forget, a lot. You’re also going to justify why you need to have it on. Just leave it outside of the bedroom, and set a simple alarm clock.
17. Consider A Landline
Like making really long calls to your close friends? Consider getting an old-school landline. I know, sounds barbaric these days, but trust me, they still make them.
If you get a simple, corded phone, with a landline, your exposure to EMF radiation during calls will be FAR less than it would be with a cell phone. This is the ideal solution if you consistently make long phone calls.
Final Thoughts On iPhone Radiation
Like any modern smartphone, iPhones are capable of emitting an enormous amount of EMF radiation. Being realistic, it is unlikely that people are going to stop, or even reduce, how much they use their smartphones moving forward as the world becomes increasingly more connected.
So our best option isn’t to try and convince people to never use a smartphone, that isn’t a battle we’ll win. Instead, we need to educate people about the danger EMF radiation causes, and show them that their phone is one of the largest culprits.
After we’ve convinced them that it truly is a danger, and science has proven that, we can work to show them better and safer ways to operate their devices.
Help me do that!
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