Scientists can't seem to make up their mind about cell phones. Do they produce radiation? Yes. Is the radiation they produce harmful to us? They aren't sure. However, putting all their reports together, a pattern of tips and precautions becomes clear.
The most important thing you need to know right away is that your phone sometimes transmits a stronger (and therefore more hazardous) signal, while at other times it will transmit very weakly or not at all. It's a good idea to know when that happens and when it doesn't to avoid causing yourself harm. Parents should especially heed this advice, as children are most susceptible to radiation damage during their tender years of growth.
Here are some important tips to minimize exposure:
1. Keep some distance – hold your cell phone as far away from your body as possible.
2. Use a headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from your head.
3. Do not press the handset against your head. Radio Frequency (RF) energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source -- being very close greatly increases energy absorption.
4. Limit the length of mobile calls.
5. Use text (SMS) instead of voice wherever possible.
6. Put the cell phone on speaker mode.
7. Use your phone where reception is good. If the radio signal is weak, a mobile phone will increase its transmission power. Find a strong signal and avoid movement.
8. Metal and water are good conductors of radio waves, so avoid using a mobile phone while wearing metal-framed glasses or having wet hair.
9. Let the call connect before putting the handset to your ear or before you start speaking and listening – a mobile phone first makes the communication at higher power and then reduces power to an adequate level. More power is radiated during call connecting time.
10. If you have the option, use a landline (wired) phone rather than a mobile phone.
11. When your phone is ON, don't carry it in chest/breast or pants pockets. It might harm your fertility or your heart. When a mobile phone is ON, it automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check (poll) the network.
12. Reduce children's mobile phone use, as a younger person will likely have a longer lifetime exposure to radiation from cell phones.
13. People who have active medical implants should preferably keep the cell phone at least 15cm away from the medical implant.
* While purchasing a mobile handset, check its SAR value. This can be found on the internet if you know its make and model.
14. The RF radiation is increased by mobile phones when used in a car to overcome the window shielding. So try to reduce such use or stop it altogether.
Images courtesy of (top to bottom) David Castillo Dominici, Ambro, imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net