Julie WattsJulie Watts NewsMom is the KPIX Consumer-Investigative reporter and a mom. Her #NewsMom Blog on CBSSF offers a unique perspective on issues facing Bay Area parents. 

Julie’s independent website NewsMom.com
features “News, Reviews and Resources for Moms, by Moms Who Report the News.” Follow @newsmomdotcom on Facebook & Twitter

(CBS-SF #NewsMom Blog) – I admit it. I let my 2-year old play with my cell phone, and yes, that same cell phone sits charging on my bedside table all night, just a couple feet from her crib and my head.

(Yes, her crib is still in our room, but that’s a topic for a different blog).

I know that makes me just one of millions of moms to rely on an electronic crutch once in a while, but as a consumer-investigative reporter, I’ve covered enough stories about the dangers of cell phone radiation (accusations the industry denies) to know that even manufacturers recommend people keep cell phones .5” to 1” away from their bodies.

But, really? Is it that big a deal? Until a recent interview, I didn’t think it was.

Then I interviewed Dr. Joel Moskowitz, the Director of Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s one of the foremost experts on (and critic of) electromagnetic radiation.

I was interviewing him for a story on efforts by the city of Berkeley, CA, to require cell phone retailers to post the following warning.

To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.

UPDATE: The CTIA-The Wireless Association lost its lawsuit against the City of Berkeley that claimed the warning was unconstitutional.  The judge cited FCC research and concluded there was “a reasonable scientific basis” to believe emissions “at some levels can and do present health risks.” However, he required the city remove the warning that children could be at greater risk, noting that it remained a “matter of scientific debate.”

During the interview with Moskowitz, I couldn’t resist a #NewsMom question. “How dangerous is it that I keep two cellphones and a wireless baby monitor in our bedroom where my child sleeps?” I asked him.

His response did what none of my previous reporting on the topic had—changed my behavior. That night, to my husband’s chagrin, I declared our bedroom a wireless-free zone. I removed the baby monitor and put our cell phone plugs in the kitchen.

See his full response to that life-changing #NewsMom question and read more about my wireless-free declaration in my NewsMom.com blog post:

 “Why I Chose To Ban Cell Phones From The Bedroom

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