Health officials warn sleeping near cell phone could cause cancer and infertility

If you sleep with your cell phone on your nightstand, you might want to find a new place to keep it.

The California Department of Public Health is warning that people who keep their cell phones within arms reach while they sleep could be at an increased risk of of cancer, infertility, and other health issues.

The agency released guidelines for reducing exposure. They include:

  • 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.

Cell phones emit radio frequency energy when they send and receive signals to and from cell towers. CDPH said some scientists and public health officials believe this energy may impact human health.

The California Department of Public Health said children could be most at risk for problems. The agency said the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10 years old. They said most young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep.

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