Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cell plan searching

In which Going Green Mama is breaking down and possibly getting a data plan...

My "dumb phone" is dying.

As it approaches its third year of life, my phone - which can barely receive my Twitter repsonses for my work account, let alone send photos or surf the web - is dying, making the sound of battery death more and more frequently and dropping off the the network completely. And my work duties really mean I should have a data plan. (I suspect, too, that my husband would like an upgrade too!)

And so we've started the hunt for a new smart phone.

My biggest issue about smart phones - other than the much higher costs - is that I'll likely use it far more frequently, and our exposure to radiation, however small, could be a concern. I realize that the jury may still be out on the link between cell phones and cancer, but I recognize that the device would be tucked in my pocket or purse for hours a day, and there's no harm in limiting risk.

So I checked out the Environmental Working Group's list of top 10 safest phones, which to my dismay wasn't updated since December 2010. Since new phones are released all the time, I'm surprised this hasn't been updated in more than a year. I was also able to find a list of smart phones (undated), which I may be able to cross-reference once I find a finalist or two from the functionality end.

With no clear answer on what my next phone will bring, how can I limit my exposure? The Environmental Working Group has some ideas:

  • Text instead of talk, as it emits less radiation (and data use).

  • Use headsets or speakers.

  • If you have fewer bars, limit your use, as it takes more radiation to make it to the tower!

  • Limit children's cell phone use - ideally to emergencies only. Is Angry Birds really worth it?


Jenn the Greenmom said...

Ohhh, I so wish I could go back to a dumbphone...remember the days when one could charge one's phone maybe twice a week if one didn't use it too much, which (for the phone, function, anyway) I honestly don't?

FWIW, I went through this early last summer and got an LG Quantum Windows 7 phone, the overall LEAST radiation-rated smartphone. It's smartphone, and the first I've been genuinely contented with in the long run if not blown away by. It's not terribly sexy, doesn't have a gajillion apps (which you load onto your phone and then mostly never use anyway), but it's been very reliable and does everything I need it to do.

Who's your carrier?

Alli said...

We are lucky that our jobs don't require a cell phone and so we don't have one...or a twitter account...or a facebook account. We like face to face time with our friends...

robbie @ going green mama said...

Alli, I appreciate face time!! so much! Unfortunately I do web and social media for work so that's a problem.

Jenn, we are moving to Sprint; my siblings had better coverage in our home than we did with our current carrier, and my employee discount is better!

Eco Yogini said...

Ahhh, Andrew and I got out FIRST cell phones last winter after xmas. But they aren't smart phones (they can text). I have twitter and facebook which I use on my laptop... and that's ok for me. (however, my job doesn't require social media :) ).

I have some pretty strong feelings about preschoolers using computers/ipods/ipads/iphones. There's some striking evidence emerging from the scientific community (stemming from all the research done from video games) stating the developmental damage that can occur from exposure to television/computer games between 0-5yrs. The European Paediatricians have made some firm statements on exposure recommendations for young children.

Anyhoo- so beyond the radiation concern, limiting for developmental concerns is also valid. :)

Rosa said...

I worry about the labor & environmental effects of e-gizmos, too - not just coltran, but the workers who make them. I've been lucky and only "had" to buy one new phone - we've had good luck finding hand-me-downs and refurbs - but the whole market makes me queasy.

Did you hear the recent This American Life about Apple products & chinese factory workers? It was really good. Not as shocking as the coltran exposes of a few years ago, but still food for thought.

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

I still have a dumb phone which I rarely use -- it's a Go Phone and usually it's off. But I went through this recently with my husband b/c he wanted a smart phone.

Anyway, did you see this story from Healthy Child this week? Scary stuff! And many of the same recommendations:


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