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Journal Article

Citation

Redmayne M. PLoS One 2017; 12(1): e0167996.

Affiliation

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2017, Public Library of Science)

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0167996

PMID

28060844

Abstract

Smartphones are now owned by most young adults in many countries. Installed applications regularly update while the phone is in standby. If it is kept near the body, this can lead to considerably higher exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation than occurred without internet access. Very little is known about current smartphone carrying habits of young women. This survey used an online questionnaire to ask about smartphone location under several circumstances to inform the power calculation for a women's health study. They were also asked about risk perceptions. Data was analysed using Pearson chi square. Three age categories were made: 15-20, 21-30, 31-40. Smartphones were generally kept on standby (96% by day, 83% at night). Of all participants, in the last week the most common locations of the phone when not in use or during passive use was off-body (86%), in the hand (58%), a skirt/trouser pocket (57%), or against the breast (15%). Pocket and near-the-breast storage were significant by age (χ215.04, p = 0.001 and χ210.96, p = 0.04, respectively), both positively influenced by the youngest group. The same influence lay in the association between holding the phone (χ211.082, p = 0.004) and pocket-storage (χ219.971, p<0.001) during passive use. For calls, 36.5% solely used the phone against the head. More than half kept the phone 20-50 cms from their head at night (53%), while 13% kept it closer than 20 cms. Many (36%) thought RF-EMR exposure was related to health problems while 16% did not. There was no relationship between thinking RF-EMR exposure causes health problems in general and carrying the phone against the upper or lower body (p = 0.69 and p = 0.212, respectively). However, calls with the phone against the head were positively related to perception of health risk (χ2 6.695, p = 0.035). Our findings can be used in the power calculation for a case-control study.


Language: en

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