New reasons to give yourself a cell phone break

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

After years of hearing that there was no proof our cell phones caused health problems, the California Department of Public Health has issued a warning that, yes, they may be a risk.

It’s more important than ever that we pay attention since it’s unusual to see more than two or three people at a time without one of them being engaged with their mobile device.

In what may be an indication of the power cell phone manufacturers exert on government, the warning was issued only after a University of California Berkeley professor filed a lawsuit to make public the findings of a 2009 CDPH document.

There is no national standard for cell phone safety limits, although the Federal Communications Commission requires manufacturers to ensure all phones comply with “objective limits for safe exposure.”

“The cellphone manufacturers want you to keep a minimum distance away from your body and you should find out what that distance is,” the UC Berkeley professor, Joel Moskowitz, told a local news station. “If you keep the device by your body, you will exceed the safety limits provided by the FCC.”

California now recommends not keeping your phone in your pocket, not putting it up to your ear for a prolonged amount of time, keeping use low if there are two bars or less, not sleeping near it at night, and being aware that if you are in a fast-moving car, bus or train, your phone will emit more RF energy to maintain the connection.

Holding an RF-radiation emitting device near your head for a long time is an obvious reason for concern, but there are, of course, more immediate dangers.

Cell phones play a part in Nebraska’s dubious honor of being home to some of the worst drivers in the nation, according to a Quote Wizard report.

The state as a whole has the sixth-worst drivers, and Omaha was ranked as having the eighth-worst city drivers in the country.

Yes, Americans are driving more with an improved economy, but they are being distracted by more technology that can lead up to a 40-second cognitive distraction when they are thinking about a voice command and not about driving, according to Mark Segerstrom, Road Safety Project Coordinator for the Nebraska Safety Council.

Nebraska has seen increases in distracted driving crashes for six consecutive years or an increase of 29 percent since 2010.

That translates to a 75 percent rise in work zone crashes, 71 percent hike in pedestrian fatalities and 67 percent rise in motorcycle crashes.

See the state ranking report here.

As we all try to get together for Christmas, it’s a good time to put down our phones and spend time actually talking face-to-face with our friends and loved ones.

Putting down our phones, in fact, may just improve the chance we’ll be able to do it again next year.

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