Mobile Phone Safety Fact Sheet

Cell Phone StatueIntroduction

There has been concern about the safety of cell phone use for as long as these phones have been available. The following information summarizes what is and isn’t known at the present time concerning whether these phones can pose a radiation health hazard and what can be done to minimize any potential risks.


Cell phones, which are now used by close to 200 million Americans, emit relatively low levels of radiofrequency (RF) radiation that is somewhat similar to the radiation generated inside microwave ovens and by radars, but at a very much lower intensity. These phones emit RF radiation at all times, but the emitted power is much higher when the phones are actually being used than when they are in the “stand-by” mode.

Health Issues

It is known that high levels of RF radiation can produce biological damage primarily due to tissue heating effects. But it is not known whether, to what extent, and through what mechanism (if any), low levels of RF radiation might cause biological effects. Although research has been performed to answer these questions, no clear picture of the biological effects of this type of radiation has emerged to date through peer-reviewed, reproducible, scientific studies. Therefore, our current knowledge does not permit us to state definitively that mobile phones are absolutely safe, or that they are unsafe. But available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any significant adverse health effects (no increased risk of brain cancer, etc.) associated with the normal use of cell phones.

Information on health effects studies related to cell phone radiation can be found at the websites below, which also include some information on RF radiation health standards and cell phone base stations (sometimes referred to as “cell sites”):

This information is provided by UCI’s EH&S Department.