Med One Blog

Cell Phone Danger

Pokemon Go in the street.

By Ibby Smith Stofer

Are you holding a cell phone at this moment? Can you see your colleagues talking on one? If you are sitting in a restaurant or other crowded area, are there many people with cell phones in use? Do you see children playing video or games on a cell phone? How old do you think those children are? By chance, is there a pregnant woman with a cell phone on her bulging tummy, maybe playing Bach to the baby?

You may be asking why I've posed so many questions about cell phones or why anyone should care. For years there have been speculations and studies about whether or not cell phones are dangerous to our health. Recently at a pediatric convention held in Baltimore, there were alarming and startling facts and data shared that each of us needs to consider.

First, Dr. Devras Davis, President of Environmental Health Trust, confirmed the brain does absorb radiation and that the young brain absorbs twice as much radiation as an adult. Panelists also found a connection between exposure to cell phone radiation and other health issues. “There's a correlation between cell phone use in pregnancy and behavioral problems in their children,” added Dr. Hugh Taylor of Yale School of Medicine.

Parent checking phone with daughter

Ask yourself how often you are checking your phone while with your children. Is it 30, 50, or even more times? This same group says that on average adults check their phones an average of 60 to 110 times per day. This adds stress, and may interfere with our interactions with others, including our children and others.

You may be saying to yourself, but how does one protect themselves and their children in our high tech society? The phone is almost like another appendage to most American adults and unfortunately to our youth as well.

In the article the conference published they offered some suggestions on limiting exposures.

  • Use headphones or hold the phone away from your ears (and brain).
  • When not using the phone, keep it a good distance away.
  • Do not let children play endlessly on a cell phone.
  • During pregnancy, keep the phone away from the abdomen.

We all know that the cell phones are a necessary evil for most of us in the business world. You can choose to consider the findings and advice, or not. But at least someone out there is providing some food for thought on the topic of cell phone radiation and our health. An article on the downsides of cell phone use for adult or child users would be remiss to not mention the issues of the latest and perhaps most dangerous app for cell phones. Pokémon GO is the top grossing app on Apple's App Store, and it's even free! It has been great news that kids and adults are no longer sitting inside glued to the phone or other device. Doctors are delighted about that aspect of the game.

However, the game has come with some unexpected and perhaps costly issues. The number one concern is that distracted driving and walking have already led to many players being injured. They don't see risks or other obstacles because of their intense focus on their hunt for a character. In San Diego, where I live, two teens walked off a cliff and fell about 60 feet. Others have been hit by cars by walking into traffic or collisions with other cars.

A radio station in Chicago (WGN) recently discussed this topic and includes a 15-minute interview with a physician. He reveals that in the US, distracted walking causes over 15,000 injuries requiring visits to the ER and that this type of augmented reality will cause that number to climb. To listen go to http://wgnradio.com/2016/07/18/dr-kevin-most-pokemon-go-injuries

The bottom line is to use good judgment whether using your cell phone for work or pleasure, monitor its use by children, and to exercise caution when choosing to multitask including walking, driving or engaging in other routine daily activities.

Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy your days. Take care of yourself by using your cell phone wisely.