Nowadays we’re always connected. In fact, I can barely remember a time before my cellphone was a permanent fixture of my existence, I honestly can’t! My phone comes with me everywhere and it’s rarely out of arm’s reach. Because all this technology is relatively young (my mom can probably remember a smartphone-free existence), the long-term effects of heavy usage have yet to be fully assessed and/or documented. Concerns continue to rise in regards to safe, reasonable cell phone usage and storage and so for that reason it’s important to at least take a look at what you’re doing; as well as where you should go and leave the device behind. Here I look at 10 of the places that the phone probably shouldn’t accompany you, for the sake of your long-term health and the safety of the phone itself!
In Your Bra– A primary perceived risk of the cellphone is radiation. While nothing is known for certain, there is belief among health experts that phone-related breast cancer may be more common than is currently cited. It is believed by some that your cell phone’s microwave radiation seeps directly into soft fatty tissue of the breast. A quick Google search led me to a story about a healthy, vegetarian runner who used her hands-free headset and was on the phone for four to five hours a day, tucking it in her bra when not in use. Often her chest or ear would redden, but she thought little of it. She went on to develop a malignant tumor right where her phone had sat on her breast, and she reported that nobody in her family had ever had breast cancer. Could all this be a coincidence? Yes, of course. But there is enough anecdotal evidence from women under the age of 40 that leads me to believe there is no compelling reason not to keep mine out of this area; just in case. In fact, breast cancer radiologist Dr. June Chen recommends that women refrain from storing their phones in their bras; because even if it’s not true, why risk it before more concrete information is known?
- Shirt Pockets– The above goes for men too. While breast cancer is not quite as common among males, the concern is still real. It’s also (in my experience) more likely to see men store their phones here than women in their bras; thereby increasing the risk of potentially harmful exposure. In order to practice being “better safe than sorry”, everyone should find a storage place for their device away from this area!
- On the Charger– Someone once told me that leaving my fully charged phone plugged in would kill the life of the battery, causing it to subsequently drain faster than if it had been removed immediately. I don’t claim to be an expert of science; however anecdotally (in my case) this has definitely proven to be true. While it may be more convenient to toss your phone on the charger at night (which I still do), it may also be detrimental to the overall life of the phone.
Another note about this one: you shouldn’t charge your phone on your bed or anywhere near blankets/sheets because of the fire risk. There is no shortage of stories on the Internet of devastating fires that began as innocently as a cell phone charging on top of the bed.
- Under Your Pillow– Speaking of where your phone should (or shouldn’t) go at night, your phone can definitely mess with your health depending on where you keep it while you sleep. Sliding your device under your pillow or on the table next to your bedside is convenient if you’re like me and fall asleep oftentimes with it in your hand, but if the phone goes off at night and wakes you up then obviously it’s a disruption. Then of course there’s the radiation issue and the aforementioned fire risk when storing it on the bed while you sleep. While nothing is a given, again is it really worth it? I started charging my own device on the floor, away from carpet/bedding and where I definitely can’t see the light in the middle of the night.
In Extreme Weather Environments– When your phone is left in very cold environments, like in your car overnight in the winter, condensation can form on the inside of the device when it’s reintroduced to warm air. Moisture is the enemy of most electronic devices, and your phone is no exception. In order to preserve the life of the phone it’s probably best not to store your phone in excessively cold temperatures. On the other hand, while the dashboard of your car might be a convenient place to stow your phone while you’re driving, it can be detrimental in warm temperatures. Direct sunlight and high heat can damage the battery or the device itself and could lead to a costly replacement.
In Your Front Pants Pocket– Researchers have found that exposure to cell phones could also have a negative effect on sperm, increasing free radicals by up to 85% in exposed samples. This risk can be avoided by storing your phone away from the front pocket of your pants.
On Your Hip– Somewhere on WebMD you can find that there is a tentative link between wearing a cell phone on your hip and decreased bone density on the side where a phone is frequently worn. While there is nothing conclusive in this study, it may be wise to keep it away from your hip too until it’s deemed safe to go in the holster.
- Against Your Skin– Did you know that some owner’s manuals generally recommend that the devices not be stored less than 10 millimeters from the skin? To put that in perspective, your phone should never be more than a pencil length away from you. Look right now - are you breaking this guideline? How much do you break it in a day? In order to stay safe from the potential risks it’s best to follow this guideline as much as possible.
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