This article is written in partnership with SafeSleeve. They’re dedicated to protecting us from harmful EMF radiation in a stylish, practical way, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
Smartphones are bad for our health—we should all agree on this by now.
Designed to keep us in a constant dopamine reward loop, they keep us away from other, healthier activities like, say, actually looking up at the sky, taking a distraction-free walk, or speaking to a friend without checking our notifications.
Of course, this is mainly to do with the apps on our phones and there’s a lot we can do to use those more mindfully, rather than being used by them.
But what about the direct impact our devices themselves have on our health?
I thought folks who worried about radiation from cell phones were tin-hatters until I spoke to the founders of SafeSleeve: two engineering graduates who launched their EMF radiation protection covers for laptops and cell phones via crowdfunding after realizing just how dangerous consistent close contact with these devices is for our health. Since launching, they’ve been obsessed with providing the best, most functional, stylish solution to protect us from the hidden dangers of our devices without hindering their practicality.
What the Cell Phone Industry Isn’t Telling Us.
Well, technically they are telling us, but it’s all wayyy down there in the fine print.
Here’s an interesting exercise: if you have an iPhone, go to Settings >> General >> scroll to the bottom >> Legal & Regulatory >> RF (radio frequency) Exposure. Now read what it says.
Yep, it’s a warning about your cell phone, from your cell phone company about keeping your phone 5-15 mm away from your body at all times. I’m willing to bet you’d never heard about that, let alone knew this secret little disclaimer on all devices even existed. I certainly didn’t!
The New Big Tobacco.
Remember how it took 141 years from the conception of the cigarette for the truth about the health impacts of smoking to come out? Big Tobacco manipulated their advertising and promotional campaigns and failed to include the fact that smoking kills 1,200 people a day.
Well, the story of our cell phones is frighteningly similar, and eerily few people are aware of it. According to SafeSleeve, that’s no coincidence. It all comes down to the fact that there’s a lot of money in cell phones—money which is used to suppress information about their damaging effects, like that uncovered in the $25 million dollar government study that linked cell phone radiation to cancer.
What’s even more frightening is the fact that cell phones are a part of almost all our lives in a way that I don’t think smoking has ever been, even in the 50s: 95 out of every 100 adult Americans owning a cell phone today. As a parent, it’s even more shocking to learn that children are more at risk of EMF or RF exposure because of their smaller heads and lower bone density.
What is EMF Radiation?
Electromagnetic radiation (EMF) refers to waves within the electromagnetic field that carry radiant energy. These include microwaves, gamma rays, radio waves, X-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, and light.
The sun naturally emits EMF waves, and most electronic appliances emit them as well.
Some scientists believe that too much exposure to EMF radiation can be harmful, including the possibility that it’s carcinogenic. To understand why it’s helpful to know the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.
In short, ionizing EMF (higher end of the EMF spectrum) is known to be harmful. Many studies show increased health risks from non-ionizing as well. EMR has a high decay rate, which means that levels drop off drastically at a distance of about 6-8 inches. Therefore it is only the devices that we use for extended periods of time in close proximity to our bodies that are of concern (think cell phone, tablet, and laptop). Radiation emission levels also vary between devices and laptops and cell phones emit extremely high levels.
What’s the Risk?
This risk is associated not just with cell phone use, tablets, and laptops use, but also prolonged exposure to WiFi.
Here are some of the health risks we’re taking every time we put our phones to our ears; carry them in our pockets; sleep with them next to our heads; read an article on our tablets; work with our laptops on our laps (yep, they’re not actually meant to go on your lap); or worse, allow our children frequent exposure to these radiation-emitting devices.
Cancer: The “Interphone Study,” launched in 2010 by the World Health Organization and funded indirectly by Motorola, found an 80% increase in brain tumors in heavy users from cell phone usage. Despite these findings, the conclusion was “no overall increased risk of brain cancer.”
Stress on the heart: There’s a reason you are asked if you have any heart conditions before going for an X-Ray. Exposure to EMF increases heart rates and stress on the heart. Those that are extremely sensitive to exposure may experience an erratic heart rate. This erratic heart rate can be fatal for some.
Decreased fertility (in males): When exposed to EMF there is the possibility for DNA defragmentation in a male’s sperm cells. Paired with this is the reduction of motility that the sperm has. It has been shown that the extreme temperatures devices like a laptop produce while in use actually kill sperm cells.
Increased risk of miscarriage (in females): Females show similar problems when exposed to EMF radiation over long periods of time. Side effects can range from prevention of egg implantation to an increase in abnormalities in pregnancy and a higher risk for miscarriage.
Decreased brain activity & slowed growth: The EMF radiation that is produced when WiFi is used has been shown in studies to actually slow the activity of the brain. Other studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to EMF radiation can actually damage the cells of the organism close by.
Sleep disruption (leading to further health issues): Adequate sleep gives our bodies the chance they need to repair themselves without interruption, but our electronic devices and the WiFi signals they emit can reduce or eliminate the opportunity our bodies have to do that. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
How to Fully Protect Yourself:
Most experts recommend following a few simple safety tips on reducing RF exposure from cell phones including:
- Use an independent, lab-tested anti-radiation cell phone case such as those made by SafeSleeve.
- If you use a laptop frequently, especially in close proximity to your body, get a case for that as well. SafeSleeve cases are military-grade drop tested. Not only do they protect you, but they also protect your devices.
- Minimize the amount of time you and your family spend using cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Turn off your WiFi at night.
Let’s face it: most of us can’t live without our cell phones and laptops. And they can be wonderful, life-changing tools, if used mindfully. But you wouldn’t refuse the lead vest you’re given when getting an X-Ray, so why risk the potentially negative health impacts of EMF radiation when a simple, elegant vegan leather case can give you peace of mind?
Besides, they’re pretty darn sleek and stylish.
3 Chic, Practical Ways to Make your Tech Safer:
1. EMF Radiation & RFID Blocking Phone Cases
2. EMF Radiation Blocking Tablet Cases
3. Laptop EMF Radiation Protection: Cases & Lap Desks