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Breast isn’t best when it comes to storing smartphones: study

Despite manufacturers’ warnings, some women still carry their smartphone in their bra.

The issue was the focus of a Monash University study, published in PLOS One, that surveyed 197 Melbourne-based women aged 15-40 to find out where and how near to the body smartphones were carried and used.

While the results showed the most common location of participants' smartphones over the previous seven days when not in use or when using the phone for purposes other than phone calls was off the body, the next most common was in the hand (58 per cent), in a pocket below the waist (57 per cent), or against the breast (15 per cent).

A quarter of the women surveyed also indicated they had at some stage carried their phone against their breast.

Dr Mary Redmayne, adjunct research fellow with Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said people are exposed to considerably higher levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation by storing their smartphones next to their skin rather than in a bag or on a nearby surface.

Redmayne warned that modern smartphones are equipped with installed applications that run automatically in the background to update information and that this generates electromagnetic radiation in addition to the regular signal contact with the nearest base station.

The study revealed many participants were clued-in about the potential dangers of carrying a smartphone against their skin, with only 5 per cent of survey participants indicating they were unaware that smartphones emit electromagnetic energy.

Respondents also spoke of their concerns surrounding cancer, sleep issues and headaches or dizziness. However, these concerns didn’t stop them from storing their phones in a pocket or near the breast during the day.

Data from the Monash study will be used in the design of further research focusing on breast cancer in women.

“Many studies have indicated an increased risk of brain tumours from extended mobile phone use,” Redmayne said. “However, there have been no epidemiological studies regarding smartphone exposure and breast cancer. People should play safe and ensure they do not store their smartphones directly against their bodies.”

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One comment

  1. The study only looked at where young women keep their phones, not what the effect was of keeping the phone in different positions. As to the quote that “Many studies have shown an increased risk of brain tumours” the author does not tell us that many more studies show no increased risk of brain tumour with cell phone use, and that the bigger the study, and the more robust the study, the more the study showed no increased risk.

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