There has been an ongoing debate on whether cell phones can be dangerous for users, but the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has taken a step forward with new guidelines that aim to decrease people’s exposure to devices.

The CDHP released tips this week on how to reduce their exposure to to the radio frequency energy emitted from cell phones. Cell phones release radio frequency energy when sending and receiving signals to and from cell phone towers. 

The CDHP clarified that experts had not yet reached a verdict on the risks of mobile phone, but that enough research suggests using cell phones too much may impact a person’s health.

"Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones," CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement. "We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults."

Cell phone usage has spiked in recent years, with 95 percent of Americans owning a mobile phone, according to data from the Pew Research Center. Cell phone use has also increased among children. The CDHP said the average age a child first gets his or her cell phone has dropped down to as young as age 10.  

"Children's brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use," said Smith. "Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night."

The CDPH also pointed out that many young cell phone owners tend to keep their devices near them at all times, even while they sleep.

Officials released the following tips on how to reduce exposure to radiation from mobile phones:

  • Keeping the phone away from the body

  • Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak

  • Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files

  • Keeping the phone away from the bed at night

  • Removing headsets when not on a call

  • Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

After the release of the guidelines, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, which usually tries to downplay concerns regarding cell phone radiation, said in a statement to the Mercury News that “Americans’ health is important to CTIA and the wireless industry, and we encourage consumers to consult the experts.’’ However, the group also said “the scientific evidence shows no known health risk due to the RF energy emitted by cellphones.’’