Childhood Toxic Exposures: Wireless Radiation Now Added to the List

Cindy Russell, MD
Executive Director Physicians for Safe Technology

Parents and pediatricians are heavily invested in protecting children from harm. The health and wellbeing of our children is not only important to sustain loving healthy families, but it also determines the health of our nation and our future. Current studies indicate that 54% of children have at least one chronic health condition if you include obesity and developmental delays. Scientific studies show the trend is worsening.

Toxins and health

We are all well aware that from pregnancy through the teenage years toxic exposures can affect brain development, reproductive health, and the development of birth defects, as well as chronic diseases. Pediatricians and obstetricians understand the unique vulnerabilities of the developing human and are repeatedly educating moms on how to avoid toxic chemicals commonly found in the environment that can hijack human biology.  It is critical to examine early childhood toxic exposures of all kinds to understand and prevent the root causes of childhood disease.

Science now shows an abundance of evidence over many decades that wireless radiation is similar to other toxic exposures in acting as a non-thermal oxidative toxin to biologic systems with harm to lipids, DNA and other cellular structures. A large and growing body of research demonstrates radiofrequency radiation can be associated with neurologic effects on memory, behavior, mood, and concentration, in addition to showing potential links to miscarriage, infertility, immune dysfunction and cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published its 4th volume on “Pediatric Environmental Health” in 2018. The publication, also known as “The Green Book”, covers everything from asbestos to lead to mercury, to plasticizers to tobacco.

But what about wireless radiofrequency radiation (RFR)? 

Pediatricians now are now realizing that non-ionizing radiation can pose a health risk and are advising parents and their children to reduce their exposure to wireless devices. The AAP recognizes that “modern children will likely experience a longer period of exposure to radiofrequency fields from cell phone use than will adults” as they start using wireless devices at an earlier age. They note RF exposure levels have risen due to the rapid evolution of wireless devices including, “wireless monitors near or in beds, cordless phones, wireless computer technology as well as cell phones used by someone on close proximity to children.”  They go on to state that “cell phone use by children can result in approximately 2 times higher average radiofrequency energy deposition in the brain and up to 10 times higher exposure to the bone marrow” due to thinner skulls, higher fluid content in their brains and higher conductivity in their bone marrow.

Reducing Risks

We are exposed to many toxins simultaneously which increases what is termed the total toxic load. Reducing toxic exposures reduces risk. Sensible advice to reduce wireless radiation is to limit the time of use and increase the distance from the device.

Pediatricians are now asking parents about their children’s screen time and using apps or time outs to control usage and reduce device addiction.

Important questions pediatricians can ask parents and kids include:

  • How much time are your children on a screen?
  • Do you view or monitor the content with them?
  • Do you have control of screen time?
  • Are the kids allowed to use cell phones or laptops in their rooms?
  • Where is the device(s) charged at night?
  • Are you using wireless devices or wiring these through ethernet?
  • Do you turn off  Wi Fi at night?

Recommendations for safer use of wireless devices include:

  • No screen time less than 2 years other than video-chat.
  • Preschool children spend no more than an hour with digital media. The  content should be educational, non-violent, and viewed with a parent or caregiver.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Use text messaging when possible.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode.

Additional recommendations can be found in English and Spanish at Physicians for Safe Technology and include those from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the California Department of Public Health. 

Safety Tips for Wireless Devices

Dr. Russell’s presentation at the EMF Medical Conference 2021, entitled, “From Toxins to Towers: A Primer on the Science of Wireless Health Effects” will cite references to support the statements made in this article.