You May Want to Rethink Putting Your Cell Phone in These Places

September 9th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Cell phones are a major part of American life. About 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 64 percent own a smartphone, according to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center.

Americans seem to bring their cell phones everywhere they go. On average people look at their phone 46 times a day, according to Time Magazine.

How does all that cell phone use impact our health?

There's a body of research that says cell phones don't have any discernable negative health consequences.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wrote on its website that the "weight of scientific evidence" says that cell phones radio waves don't adversely affect health but more research is needed.

"According to current data, the FDA believes that the weight of scientific evidence does not show an association between exposure to radio frequency from cell phones and adverse health outcomes. Still, there is consensus that additional research is warranted to address gaps in knowledge, such as the effects of cell phone use over the long-term and on pediatric populations."

However other research suggests that bringing your phone everywhere could be a bad idea.

Here are three places you probably shouldn't bring your cell phone, just to be safe.

1. You may want to rethink putting your cell phone in your pocket — any of them.

Some experts say that cell phone radiation pose a danger to important organs. Devra Lee Davis, founder of Environmental Health Trust, wrote on the foundation's website that cell phone radiation "could harm our health in a number of ways."

She claims that wireless radiation could harm men's sperm count and that some studies suggest that cell phones stored in women's bras could be linked to tumors.

Davis also wrote that there could be cancer concerns surrounding cell phones.

"In addition to brain cancer, health concerns from cell phone wireless radiation include increased oxidative stress, altered brain activity, hearing loss, fertility issues and impacts on brain neuron maturation," she wrote.

Do these claims hold up? The World Health Organization's Agency for Research on Cancer lists cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" meaning that they may cause cancer. The WHO recommends people use cell phones at lest 11 inches away from their body. The organization also recommends hands free devices to keep cell phones away from your head and other body parts during phone calls.

However, the WHO also acknowledges that "to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."

2. You may want to avoid keeping your cell phone near you while sleeping.

If you sleep with your cell phone near your head, the potential radiation concerns mentioned above apply, according to Davis. However, cell phones can also keep you awake at night. More than 70 percent of Americans who own smart phones sleep with them in their bed, on the night stand, or in their hand, according to Forbes. A 2008 study from U.S. and Swedish researchers found that the radiation can affect sleep patterns, according to the Huffington Post.

“The study indicates that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals components of sleep believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear are adversely affected,” the study concluded.

Also cell phones tend to have a psychological affect on sleepers. A 2012 poll from Time/Qualcomm found that young people were more likely to say that they don't sleep well because they're checking technology, according to the Atlantic.

3. You don't want to bring your phone into the bathroom with you.

In 1975, Dr. Charles Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, and his colleagues found that flushing the toilet sends bacteria and viruses shooting into the air. The airborne germs can land on anything that's nearby, including your beloved phone.

"The detection of bacteria and viruses falling out onto surfaces in bathrooms after flushing indicated that they remain airborne long enough to settle on surface throughout the bathroom," wrote the study authors in 1975. "Thus, there is a possibility that a person may acquire an infection from an aerosol produced by a toilet."

Basically if your cell phone is on the sink when you flush, you could get sick from toilet germs, especially considering cell phones then migrate from the sink to your mouth and face. Gerba told ATTN: in April that anything within three feet of a flushing toilet could end up with poop spray on it.

"Flushing with the lid down would be a good idea," he said. "Also keep your toothbrush at least three feet from the toilet or you will be brushing your teeth with what was in the toilet."

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