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Amid concerns about possible health risks associated with cell phones, the Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to avoid products that supposedly “shield” users from cell phone emissions.

According to the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, there is no scientific proof that so-called shields significantly reduce exposure from cell phone emissions. In fact, products that block only part of the phone, such as the earpiece, are totally ineffective because the entire phone emits electromagnetic waves. By interfering with the phone’s signal, phony shields may cause it to draw even more power and possibly emit more radiation.

Health studies about any relationship between the emissions from cell phones and health problems are ongoing. But for those consumers who want to limit their exposure to cell phone emissions, the FTC offers these tips:

  • Use an earpiece or the speakerphone feature.
  • Consider texting more, and keep calls brief.
  • Wait for a good signal. When you have a weak signal, your phone works harder and emits more radiation. Phones emit more radiation when transmitting than when receiving, so tilt the phone away from your head when you’re talking.
  • Before you buy a phone, research its specific absorption rate (SAR), which tells how much radiation the body absorbs while using the phone. Different phones emit different amounts of radiation. In the U.S., a phone’s SAR cannot exceed 1.6 watts per kilogram. The Federal Communications Commission has more information at Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) For Cell Phones: What It Means For You.

For more information on cell phone use and health issues, see the National Cancer Institute’s fact sheet, Cell Phones and Cancer Risk. To avoid scams, read the FTC’s consumer alert, Listen Up: Tips to Help Avoid Cell Phone Radiation Scams.

(Cell Phone Radiation Scams)

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