Are cell phones the new cigarettes or lead paint? Not quite, but they are the latest suspects among environmental sources of developmental harm. Children with prenatal or postnatal exposure to cell phone use by their mothers were 80 percent more likely to have behavioral problems, according to research released in July that included studies of more than 13,000 children. And the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Environmental Oncology warned last month against letting children use cell phones, as a precaution against exposure to low-level radiation that has been associated with some cancers in lab animals.
For better or worse, cell phones remain a fact of daily life. To minimize exposure to radiation, use a headset, and keep tabs on the time you spend talking. Send text messages instead and save money, too. If you or your children are looking for a new mobile phone, there are some models with lower radiation levels, measured in SARS, or specific absorption rates when the phone is held next to the ear.
For the ten U.S. models with the highest radiation levels, or rads, and the top ten lowest emitters, check out these handy lists from CNET.
Chatter when it matters and spare yourself unnecessary zaps.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.