California Department of Public Health

In 2017, the  California Department of Public Health issued a press release and an advisory on how to reduce microwave radiation exposures from cell phones, especially for children. Here are the recommendations. 

How can you reduce your exposure?


Keep your phone away from your body. Keeping your phone just a few feet away from you can make a big difference.

  • When you talk on your cell phone, avoid holding it to your head—use the speakerphone or a headset instead. Wireless (Bluetooth) and wired headsets emit much less RF energy than cell phones.
  • Send text messages instead of talking on the phone.
  • If you are streaming or if you are downloading or sending large files, try to keep the phone away from your head and body.
  • Carry your cell phone in a backpack, briefcase, or purse; NOT in a pocket, bra or belt holster. Because your phone’s antenna tries to stay connected with a cell tower whenever it’s on, it emits some RF energy even when you are not using it. It does not emit RF energy when it’s in airplane mode. (Airplane mode turns off cellular, Wi-Fi, andBluetooth.)

Reduce or avoid using your cell phone when it is sending out high levels of RF energy. 

This happen mainly when:

  • You see only one or two bars displayed. Cell phones put out more RF energy to connect with cell towers when the signal is weak. If you must use your phone when the signal is weak, try to follow the other guidance on this page.
  • You are in a fast-moving car, bus, or train. Your phone puts out more RF energy to maintain connections to avoid dropping calls as it switches connections from one cell tower to the next unless it is in airplane mode.
  • You are streaming audio or video, or downloading
    or sending large files. To watch movies or listen to playlists on your phone, download them first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch or listen.


Don’t sleep with your phone in your bed or near your head. Unless the phone is off or in airplane mode, keep it at least a few feet away from your bed.

Take off the headset when you’re not on a call. Headsets release small amounts of RF energy even when you are not using your phone.


Don’t rely on a “radiation shield” or other products claiming to block RF energy, electromagnetic fields, or radiation from cell phones. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, products that interfere with the phone’s signal may force it to work harder and emit more RF energy in order to stay connected, possibly increasing your exposure.


Press Release December 14, 2017: California Department of Health Issues Guidelines on How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones


State of California. “How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones.” Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Public Health 


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