Photograph: Freeimages.com/iceviking

Mobile devices have to emit electromagnetic signals to communicate, which is useful to everybody, but it is also a source of concern for some users who worry the radiation may harm them.

It’s hard to live without mobile devices in today’s world, so Germany’s Federal Agency for Radiation Protection (BfS), which monitors radiation effects, has some tips for making sure exposure levels stay as low as possible.

- GET A DEVICE THAT PUTS OUT LOW LEVELS OF RADIATION: Not every device puts out the same amount of electromagnetism.

The BfS has a website in German listing more than 2,500 devices, ranking them on the level of their specific absorption rate (SAR), a figure denoting radiation levels emitted. The lower your phone’s SAR, the better. The site lets users filter by either radiation level or manufacturer.

- LIMIT PHONE USE TO GOOD CONDITIONS: The better the connection, the lower the signal the phone has to pump out to work, which means less radiation. Always check and see whether there’s a WiFi network you can access, since web access by WiFi requires a weaker signal than from a phone connected to a mobile network.

- ONLY BROADCAST WHEN YOU’VE GOT TO: Turn off functions that allow data packets to be uploaded and downloaded in the background, because it means the phone won’t constantly be looking for news and mail on the side.  That means lower power consumption and less radiation emitted.

- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: The further the phone is from the body, the less radiation you’ll receive. Using a headset instead of holding a phone to your ear also reduces your personal risk.

- DON’T CARRY THE PHONE ON YOUR PERSON: Don’t stick the phone in your pocket or carry it too close to your body. If that’s not possible, check what the manufacturer says about the minimum distance it should be kept from the body and adhere to that.

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