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The World Health Organization announced yesterday that cell phones can possibly cause cancer. Whether you’re rolling your eyes, or sitting upright in disbelief, you are probably paying attention. Yes, this is important to our health, especially given that currently, worldwide, there are 5 billion cell phones in service, this amongst a global population of a little over 6 billion.

As one of my favourite eco-living sites, inhabitat.com; reported:  “The announcement is based upon a series of studies that have been peer-reviewed by a group of 31 scientists from 14 countries working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The team found that non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones is “possibly carcinogenic to humans – a reversal of the WHO’s previous assertions that no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone us.”

We live in a digital age.  And cell phones have become indispensable to most of our lives.   And yet, I always wonder, hundred years hence, will another generation observing how we did things in the “now” think us so ignorant and oblivious to the effects of cell phone radiation?

Whether you are surprised by the outcome of this research or indifferent to it, here are a few tips you can use to minimize your exposure to cell phones.

1. Minimize your time on your phone.  If you can, reach for a landline instead.  Also, do not, please use cell phones at the dinner table and at restaurants, please leave the room to converse.  I know this is more an etiquette thing, but it’s also respectful and allows you to focus on your call ( if it is so important that you need to interrupt your meal and conversation with real people for).
2. A corollary to #1, don’t give up your landline – this is often not even possible in so many developing countries such as India or South Africa, where mobile networks have quickly superseded withering land line networks.
3. Use a handset – This is so easy, but I’m guilty of misplacing mine all the time, but I’m going to keep one set at the ready on my phone always.  This is, just so you know, a little nicer than putting your phone on speaker, and infiltrating your surrounding space with your conversation – something particularly popular on a crowded bus or subway car.
4. Get out into a no-cell zone often i.e. I’m talking big nature.  I’m fortunate enough to live in a wild place where cell phone reception if often more off than on and while the transition from always being on in the city was at first frustrating, I’ve grown to appreciate our remoteness and un-reachability.  It’s healthy to not always be available!
5. Think about communicating in other ways.  Write handwritten notes, especially thank you notes, they are always appreciated.
6. Prioritize your life and expectations.  What answers do you need immediately, like right now, and what can wait?  Does everything require a phone ca
7. For social occasions like a dinner date, or yoga class or concert, try to make plans beforehand and stick to them and allow a buffer zone of five to ten minutes for your friend to arrive. Remember life before cell phones – we did survive.
8. Your cell phone is not a stand in for a date.   If you’re waiting at a coffeeshop for a friend, put that iphone or blackberry away, who knows you might actually strike up a real conversation with your neighbour vs. a virtual one.
9. I always put this into everything i say, but it is true.  Eat well. Food is our easiest and tastiest medicine. Eat healthful, immune boosting foods like lots of seasonal, organic vegetables, grains and if you eat meat, a little bit of pasture fed meat.  Fortify yourself without the aid of sugar and junk food and you will be more resistant to the travails of our age.
10.Live in the real world! See friends in person, practice yoga with a community, eat in community without a lap top or cell phone as fill in company, listen to a great live concert and get outside, get moving and replenish your tech saturated cells with some real, live prana.  While DVDS, podcasts and iphone apps that simulate tibetan singing bowls are all awesome, nothing comes close to the real, live things.
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