Are you worried about phone radiation near babies? Unfortunately, whilst there is some robust research into the harmful effects of EMF on babies and small children, there remains very little awareness, both publically and in the media.
Until 2014, it was mostly speculation as to how radiation from electronic advice could affect babies, both unborn and born.
In 2014, that changed dramatically when Lloyd Morgan, a senior scientist and fellow of the Environmental Health Trust, USA, a leading think-tank on consumer radiation and EMF published this review study in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure.
The team examined a vast quantity of research on electronic device radiation including cell phone EMFs. They also investigated public health research, manufacturer’s guidance and government documents on the topic of EMF radiation.
The findings indicate two things:
A) Babies, both born and unborn in the womb, are at high risk of microwave radiation exposure from phones.
B) This is not addressed properly in public health or governmental advice, and people are seldom aware of the consequences.
Let’s have a look at the issue, and what we can do about it.
Table of Contents
Why is Phone Radiation Near Babies a Problem?
Mobile phone radiation, also known as electromagnetic frequencies, or EMF, are produced by all electrical devices. Mobile phones also use this form of radiation to communicate with the network to send and receive signal and data.
Below is a diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum. Mobile phone radiation sits primarily in the low microwave and high radio wave zone.
All electronic devices produce some level of radiation, but phones produce additional radiation in the microwave range. The dangers posed by phones have never been completely unheard of or underground, but modern phones are generally viewed as safer than older phones. On balance, this isn’t necessarily true, and it certainly doesn’t paint the whole picture. Whilst EMF is technically non-ionising radiation, and thus, doesn’t cause explicit ionising damage to our cells in the same way as say, an X-ray, a growing body of rock-solid evidence has stated that non-ionising radiation can also damage cells, and affects the way they function and behave.
After all, our cells and their components parts are extremely small and intricate. In the case of babies or small children, those structures are still developing.
Multiple scientific studies and lots of medical research show that this type of EMF can pass through our bodies, damaging cells in the process. You can look at our blog for more posts and scientific reviews of the evidence surrounding EMF – including this one on the current state of evidence surrounding mobile phone usage.
Whilst ionising radiation remains much more damaging than the types of radiowaves and microwaves emitted by mobile phones, too much exposure still causes damage. It’s also a matter of proximity. There aren’t many electric devices that we have such close relationships with as our phones and laptops.
How EMF is Measured: SAR
There are regulations that phone manufacturers must stay in line with. This is a rating known as SAR – Specific Absorption Rate – which limits what amount of radiation is allowed. The problem with SAR is that there is no globally acknowledged limit and its calculation is limited.
Different countries have different limits to SAR. This is despite the obvious fact that our bodies are not any different from country to country. Plus, SAR has been calculated using an adult male as a default. It measures how far into an adult male head the radiation from the phone can go. The limits are based on that.
The problem is that an adult male is not the default mobile phone user – we all are. How far radiation can go is proportionally different for different people. That same phone will penetrate much further into the head of the average child or baby.
This is common sense – the bone thickness of a baby’s skull is very small compared to that of a fully grown human. Bone absorbs far more radiation than flesh – it’s the bone that matters the most when investigating how far EMF radiation penetrates the body.
Mobile Phone Radiation and Babies: Three Major Studies
There are many studies that investigate the effects of EMF on cellular and bodily tissue health. Amongst the wide range of findings into the effects of EMF are findings that indicate how mobile phone radiation can cause oxidative stress, a key precursor for cancer and other inflammatory diseases, that mobile phone exposure affects sperm quality, count and viability, and can also cause and worsen several neurological problems.
The potential of mobile phone radiation’s damaging effects is vast – the WHO has since taken heed and classified mobile phone radiation as officially ‘possibly carcinogenic’.
The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans – WHO, 2014
Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences – 2014 – Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure
This influential study instigated some new articles:
- WebMD – Children Face Higher Health Risk From Cell Phones
- Healthy Children – Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know
The key findings of the review are:
- Children absorb more radiation from phones and devices than adults do
- There is sufficient documentation of child exposure to other harmful materials and ‘possible carcinogens’. Mobile phone radiation is now labelled as such, so why are there no warnings about phone usage?
- Fetuses are likely more vulnerable to radiation from laptops used on say, the stomach area
- Phones shouldn’t be stored close to vulnerable tissues, e.g. in bras
- Overexposure to mobile phone radiation is admitted by manufacturers, but clarity is poor
- Government advice on the subject is insufficient at best
Absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from cell phone conversation or virtual reality – 2018 – Journal of Environmental Research
This later study reacted to the rise of VR headsets, which place phones directly in front of the eyes. Intuition suggests that this is not good for the health of small children, but this study places the emphasis on mobile phone radiation.
The study concurs that children’s brains absorb more radiation than adults. VR potentially exposes the eyes and brain to far more than an average dose of radiation experienced in say, a phone call.
Modeling of a cell phone held to the ear, or of virtual reality devices in front of the eyes, reveals that young eyes and brains absorb substantially higher local radiation doses than adults’.
Risk of Radiation Exposure to Children and Their Mothers – 2011- Encyclopedia of Environmental Health
There was another study published in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Health in 2011. This study examined the effects of non-ionizing radiation on babies and their early development, inside and outside the womb.
The study found:
The developing organism is more sensitive to radiation and vulnerable to the development of radiation-induced pathology. Prenatal development, characterized by intensive cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cell migration, is highly sensitive to radiation exposure. Therefore, exposure of embryos and fetuses to radiation is of immense concern for radiological protection and human health
Taken with wider evidence into mobile phone radiation, including the influential Bioinitiative Report backed by thousands of eminently authoritative scientists worldwide, it seems obvious that the issues posed by radiation to babies and small children are grossly underreported, both in the media and in official public health guidelines.
The WHO-backed Interphone Study established some empirical risks between excessive mobile phone usage and the development of certain cancers including brain tumours.
The findings are quite shocking, with the incidence of brain tumours increasing with some 30-minutes phone usage every day (with close proximity to the head). After 1640 hours of phone usage, the odds of lifetime development of a brain tumour double at least.
As we progress into the 21st-century, our mobile phone usage only continues to grow. As phone usage grows, so too does our exposure.
Whilst many of us need to work harder to reduce our exposure to phone radiation, preventing exposure to babies and children is a maximum priority.
Other Effects of Phone Radiation Near Babies
Excessive phone use is ill-advised for pregnant women and mothers of newly born infants or small children. Phones erode our concentration and sensory perception, leading to an increase in accidents and falls.
A huge study of pregnant women across the world showed that the more a woman used her mobile phone, the more likely it was her child would have behavioural problems, including hyperactivity. This is by no means the only study that links phone usage with negative outcomes for children.
The number of children using their phones before bed is also growing rapidly. Using mobile phones before bed has itself been linked with a wide range of negative health consequences for both adults and children – read more about that here.
So, aside from mobile phone radiation, there are big concerns about the effect screen time has on children and babies. Too much screen time has been linked with cognitive, behavioural, and learning difficulties.
The evidence is clear. Mobile phones should be used more sparingly by all – but we must act now to protect children from excessive phone usage.
Tackling Phone Radiation Near Babies
How can you protect your child from phone radiation?
The NHS recommends that children should only make essential, short calls on mobile phones. Supervise and limit the screen time of babies and infants – which includes watching videos and playing games. When watching videos, playing games, or listening to music, keep the phone at least six inches away from baby at all times.
The electromagnetic smog of mobile phone and WiFi networks is all around us. The Shield Your Body Baby Beanie and Baby Blanket are specifically designed to shield and protect babies from mobile phone radiation.
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