How Dirty Is Your Cellphone?

If, like most cellphone users, you text and talk regularly, then you're probably exposing yourself to potentially harmful bacteria

The more you use your cellphone, the more you should clean it

According to a British study, your cellphone is likely covered in dangerous bacteria

Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to walk down any city street without seeing 10 people with cellphones pressed against their heads and another 10 texting or checking e-mails.

Not surprisingly, all that handling of the cellphone has produced a not-so-unexpected health concern. A British study found that 92% of cellphones are contaminated with bacteria, and one in six carry dangerous E. coli – a fecal bacterium that can lead to serious illness.

Clean Your Cellphone Regularly

To reduce the amount of bacteria on your cellphone, sanitize it often using a soft cloth slightly dampened with an alcohol-based cleaning solution and wash your hands frequently. (Check the manufacturer’s specifications regarding screen care.)

Of course, bacterial buildup isn’t the only health concern related to cellphones. There’s still the question of radiation. In that vein, cellphone manufacturers must meet Health Canada guidelines for safe radio frequency (RF) exposure, which are set 50 times lower than levels currently considered harmful.

Still, Health Canada recommends that you further reduce exposure by texting, using hands-free devices and limiting the length of your calls.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.