The content of this page is continually under review, and subject to emerging science and changes in technology. All information below is subject to professional health advice, and evaluation of suitability by the reader prior to any intended use.
Mobile Phones – General
- Distance: During a call, hold the mobile phone away from the head as advised by most manufacturers in their instruction booklets. This is one premise upon which a device’s Govt safety approval is based. A 10-15cm gap is reported to reduce microwave absorption by up to four times.
- Good Habits: To encourage the above practice, a “cell spacer” type accessory can be purchased or improvised. Free-standing phone cradles, some with a range extending amplifier and speaker, are also commercially available.
- Air Space: Switching to speaker mode is a popular method for gaining distance. If you are concerned about privacy or disturbing others, purchase an air-tube type headset. These are preferable to fully wired types that can re-radiate phone signals and potentially increase exposure to the head.
- Keep It Brief: As a routine practice, try to limit the duration and frequency of calls. Text message whenever possible. Ask others to do the same, or use a land line when contacting you.
- Signal Strength: Check the bar graph before making a call. If it indicates poor reception, the phone will automatically boost its output to gain a working connection. Consider moving to a spot that yields a higher reading. Make a mental note of these places for future reference.
- Tower Proximity: If you call primarily from one location, sign up with the network provider that has the nearest tower to minimize the phone’s required signal output. For travel, choose the provider with best regional service and avoid fringe areas. This can be determined by viewing coverage maps online.
- Polling: Even when no call is in progress, a phone on standby periodically polls surrounding towers to determine the most efficient connection. To avoid this, switch it completely off when not needed.
- Vulnerability: Young people are reportedly more susceptible to EMR than adults. They are in a developmental stage and a lighter body structure offers less resistance. Enlisting mobile phones, or other wireless devices, as toys, baby sitters or companions might be assessed in this light. The same may apply to pregnant women or the elderly and infirm.
- Face Time: Avoid viewing the phone, or any solid state display, near the face for prolonged periods. Recent reports suggest an association with eye damage including cataracts.
- Tracking: If you carry a phone, your exact location at any given time can be monitored by authorized persons. This is a function of the phone’s continuous triangulation relative to the three nearest towers, or its in-built GPS capabilities.
- Spy Ring: Even when switched entirely off, a smart phone’s microphone or camera can be remotely activated by service providers or surveillance agencies. The only absolute way to prevent this is to place the phone in a sealed metal box, checking afterward to ensure it no longer responds to incoming calls.
Mobile Phones – Position
- Balance: If you must hold the phone near the head, for example in a noisy environment, balance exposure by alternating sides.
- Finger Tips: The phone will boost its signal output if connection to the tower is physically blocked. Grasp the device on its lower edge with the fingertips, or whatever area is by design furthest away from the internal antenna(s).
- Out of the Way: If you know the direction of your service provider’s nearest tower, hold the phone on that side of your body to minimize microwaves passing through. If not, slowly rotate your body to even out exposure.
- Initial Blast: During the first few seconds after being turned on, the phone will emit maximum signal strength while searching for the nearest compatible tower. At this time, it is best held at distance from the body.
- Transport: Unless switched off or to airplane mode, carry the phone in an accessory well away from your body, and not tucked within a garment or other worn item. Similarly do not store under a pillow at night.
- Night Time: Refrain from using a mobile phone for a few hours before sleep to avoid disruption of normal brain wave activity by microwaves, screen flicker and a predominance of blue light. In general, keep non-critical wireless devices out of the bedroom. This is a time of repair and recovery for the body.
Mobile Phones – Moving
- On the Go: Try not to walk or unnecessarily move around while operating a phone. Every few meters it will emit a burst of stronger signal while attempting to confirm it is triangulated to the nearest towers. This even occurs when no call in in progress.
- In the Can: Avoid making calls from within such as cars and buses. Their metal shell reflects microwaves back inwardly, thereby prompting the phone to boost its signal to obtain a connection. In the process, the user and everyone in the vehicle receives a greater dose.
- Entrainment: Be aware that simple “distraction” is not the sole danger of phone use while driving. A contributing factor is the disengaged, trance-like state evoked by exposure of the brain to pulsed microwaves. Although a hands-free accessory places the phone at distance, it does not fully address this particular effect.
- Take It Outside: If you phone regularly from within your vehicle, consider installing an external antenna to help keep the radiation outside and improve connectivity.
Mobile Phones – Models & Apps
- Keep It Simple: Prefer “older” phones that rely exclusively upon the 3G network. 4G and 4GX introduced more complex signal structures and data intensive features.
- More G’s: The above trend will escalate with 5G’s beam forming and high density signal modes. Its frequency spectrum, from about 3.5GHz to 90GHz, is unprecedented in size, and not well tested for health effects.
- Sales Pitch: Be skeptical of slick promotions. Before signing up to any service, consider the trade-off between potential adverse effects and what you really need in terms of day-to-day living. Resist the gee-whizz factor.
- Network Type: If available in your area, choose a GSM phone over CDMA, The latter typically exposes the operator to higher emissions.
- SAR Rating: Cumulative exposure is quantified by specific absorption ratio (SAR), measured for each phone by an accredited lab. Due to proprietary design features, some brands require less signal strength to maintain a connection. Comparisons of individual models are available on the internet.
- Time Travel: Wherever practical, replace mobile and cordless phones with traditional corded models. These are readily available new, secondhand or ordered in from online auction websites.
- Un-Smarting: A smart phone can be reverted to a lower emission legacy device. Go to menu settings and disable unnecessary advanced features such as “mobile services”, “data network mode”, GPS and Wi-Fi.
- Greedy Apps: Choose apps carefully. Some interact continuously with a remote data centre or peripheral devices resulting in higher volume of transmissions. For the same reason, voluntarily limit exposure while audio or video streaming, or downloading large files. The same applies to any wireless connected device.
- Weed Control: Disable unused apps when not required. In addition to conserving battery power, this allows for a reduced transmission activity because less data is being processed.
- Moving Base: The rule of distance as previously described also applies to cordless (DECT) phones and their base stations. Place the latter away from locations were people spend a prolonged time such as a bedroom, kitchen, work area or office desk.
- Speak Up: When using a cordless phone, place it in speaker mode and position yourself away from the headset.
- Low EMR Phones: By design convention most cordless phone base stations transmit at full signal strength all day long even when no call is in progress. There are a few exceptions, one being the Siemens Gigaset models that feature an economy setting.
- Give It a Rest: Switch off or unplug the base station when not being used.
- Inside Modems: Be aware that certain types of modems feature a built-in cordless phone (DECT) base station. If disabling this function is problematic, seek advice from the provider. Otherwise, enclose the modem (after cabling) in a ventilated screened enclosure that will block all emitted signals.
- Other Transmitters: Many of the above precautions are also applicable to TETRA handsets, walkie-talkies, CB equipment any numerous other types of radio communication devices.
- Class Act: Bluetooth products are “classed” according to effective range as follows: 3 – 1m, 2 – 10m and 1 – 100m. There is a signal strength ratio of 1:100 between the low and high ends. Class 2, as generally used in most computer peripherals, automotive accessories and alarm systems, is the most common.
- On the Wire: Use cable connected devices and peripherals. Alternatively, a limited range of infrared-linked devices is available. These work on the same principle as most TV remote controls.
- Ear Full: Reconsider those in-ear Bluetooth headsets that connect to a nearby mobile phone or another type of base station. While not as concerning as the phone itself being held against the head, a degree of microwaves will still be absorbed.
Computers & Tablets
- The Socket: Prefer a device with an inbuilt socket to accept an RJ45 terminated cable that allows for a wired internet connection. If none is present, USB modems with a ethernet output port are widely available at low cost. Further see the section below on Wi-Fi.
- Next Step: Important point to remember. Once successfully connected by cable, also disable the separate Wi-Fi modem built into the computer itself. This can be done with a dedicated keyboard switch, if present, or within the “settings” area of the operating system.
- Less Is More: When purchasing a tablet or laptop, choose one without any unneeded features such as phone connectivity, MIMO, multi-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Some popular models contain as many as a half dozen antennas to service such functions.
- Time Out: If instead retaining Wi-Fi capability, disable it during extended offline activities. For example, while playing installed games, reading or performing routine tasks such as word processing.
- Cover Up: To defeat unwanted spying through remote activation, cover any fitted cameras with adhesive tape, and insert a blank 3.5mm plug into the microphone socket.
- Padding: To create intervening distance when operating a Wi-Fi enabled computer, place it on a table or thick cushion, not directly upon your body. Alternatively, buy an RF shielding pad to insert between you and the device. Be aware that the device’s microprocessor and related circuitry also emits a degree of EMR as well as thermal radiation.
- Far Away: If you subscribe to a mobile broadband service, attach a long USB cable to position the wireless dongle or modem as far away from the computer user as possible. By convention, the maximum working distances are 30 meters for USB 2.0 and 18 meters for USB 3.0 ports.
- Screen Flicker: The screen refresh rate of computer monitors imposes a rate of flicker, most commonly at 60Hz. Although imperceptible, this can result in eyestrain, headaches and related issues. Monitors with higher, and therefore less intrusive, rates can be purchased at a price.
- Dim View: Monitors often employ pulse width modulated (PWM) back-lighting to provide adjustable screen brightness. Although this occurs at a higher rate than screen flicker, it does qualify as a subliminal irritant. Research online to find a monitor with specified “flicker free” dimming.
- The Blues: An over-abundance of blue light is known to affect sleep cycles and has been implicated in degenerative eye conditions. Monitors are now available with a “low blue” setting,
- Orange: Alternately, free software programs can be installed that shift the spectrum toward orange at user-specified times of the day, usually evening. Tinted eye glasses with similar function are also available. Yet another approach is to place an incandescent lamp nearby so some of its warm light reaches the eyes.
- Close Company: Be cautious about personal accessories that emit microwaves near the body. These include in-ear mobile phones or bluetooth, fitness bands and pagers. As a condition of use, some may allow third parties to access your data stream.
- Tracking and Tracing: There is a growing perceived need by Government and industry to monitor everything in real time. In certain circumstances, a person may be encouraged or even required, to wear a device that relays their movements via a Bluetooth or other wireless network. Rather than accept such continuous microwave exposure, check to see if other options are available.
- In Your Face: Goggle-like headsets are sold that position a mobile phone in front of the eyes for a 3D “virtual reality” experience. They are increasing common in schools or facilities for the disabled. However, viewing may result in prolonged microwaves exposure to the eyes and head.