Radio waves: reducing exposure from mobile phones

Published 1 December 2013

The international guidelines recommended by Public Health England (PHE) provide protection for the population as a whole; however uncertainties in the science suggest some additional level of precaution is warranted, particularly for sources such as mobile phones where simple measures can be taken to reduce exposure.

Measures to reduce exposures from mobile phones have been recommended by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones and PHE continues these recommendations which were accepted by government. The main advice is:

  • excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged
  • adults should be able to make their own choices about reducing their exposure should they so wish, but be able to do this from an informed position

Measures that can be taken to reduce exposure include:

  • moving the phone away from the body, as when texting, results in very much lower exposures than if a phone is held to the head
  • using the 3G mode of transmission instead of the older 2G mode will produce much lower exposures
  • using a hands-free kit, keeping calls short, making calls where the network signals are strong, and choosing a phone with a low specific energy absorption rate (SAR) value quoted by the manufacturer

Exposures from devices held further away from the body such as wireless-enabled laptop computers, and transmitter masts in the community are very much lower than those from mobile phones and PHE considers that community or individual measures to reduce such exposures are unnecessary.

See also the advice of the NPRB on reducing exposure to radio waves.