A Melbourne researcher from Monash University, Dr Mary Redmayne, says that women should not be letting their phone touch their breasts, or be anywhere else on their skin, as many studies have pointed to an “increased risk of brain tumours from extended mobile phone use".
While the information on whether smartphone exposure has links to breast cancer is lacking, she explains that “people should play it safe and ensure they do not store their smartphones directly against their bodies.”
The warning comes after a Monash University study revealed that a quarter of women surveyed had carried their smartphone tucked into their bra, and that while they had concerns about whether smartphone use was linked to sleep issues, cancer and headaches or dizziness, this didn't translate to how closely they kept the phone to their chest.
It's also important to remember that your phone isn't just active while you make a call - phones regularly emit electromagnetic radiation when they're on standby because many apps run automatically in the background to update information. While there is no agreement within the scientific community on whether low, ongoing exposure to this radiation could affect your health, the study confirms that the human body does absorb the radiation, so playing it safe might be the best option.
It's also interesting to note that a number of smartphone manufacturers, such as Apple, warn against storing your smartphone touching your skin. (In Apple's user guide, it recommends using hands-free options to reduce exposure to radio frequency energy. It also informs users to keep their phone half a centimetre away from their body for their exposure to remain at the levels tested to meet limits.)
“You would think the handbag industry was crumbling with the amount of women I see every day with the entire contents of their wallet – or the wallet itself, no joke – stuffed in their bra,” Esther Labi said.
“However, I am here to be the bearer of bad news and tell you that your bra is absolutely not the place to store your things. When you put things in your bra, you are not only risking damaging your bra, but your breasts as well.”
So what about other things? We spoke to Australia’s very own ‘Bra Whisperer,’ Esther Labi, founder of iconic bra store ‘Storm in a D Cup’, to find out the other things you shouldn't be storing up there, for the sake of your bras, too.
According to Esther, car keys, or anything else sharp can easily damage the bra that are holding them in place.
“I have seen the aftermath of what a set of car keys can do to a bra, and it is not pretty. Their odd shape can actually leave lumpy or wrinkly grooves in your bra’s cup and/or padding. This means that next time you wear your favourite bra, it may gape or your breasts may not sit smoothly in the cup,” Esther said.
“Even worse so, car keys, and anything else sharp, can actually pierce through the cup and leave you with an incredibly unflattering Regina George-esque hole in the front of your bra.”
“In today’s day and age keeping up with our hygiene is critical for stopping the spread of disease. So while we are taking extra precautions to wash our hands regularly, elbow bump instead of shaking hands, and wear a mask if we’re feeling unwell, why on earth would we store a used tissue in our bra?” Esther emphasised.
“By putting a dirty tissue in your bra, you are converting it into a petri dish for incubating and spreading highly transmissible viruses. The warm, dark world inside your bra offers the conditions to promote the growth of nasties – so just throw your tissue in the bin.”
“We all know now that our phones, and other electrical devices, admit low levels of radiation, which are harmful to our bodies in high concentration. Storing your phone in your bra on your breast can be extraordinarily dangerous, so I strongly recommend keeping your phone as far away from your chest as possible,” Esther added.
“While scientific studies are still underway, I urge women, or anyone who wears a bra, to act with caution – as I would much rather be safe than sorry down the road.
“Do not put anything electronic or that contains a battery in your bra.”
Lipstick or makeup
According to Esther, there are not many things worse than melting a new lipstick.
“We have all left our favourite lipstick in the car on a 30 degree day, or right under the window as the midday rays flow in, and found it in a melted mess hours later. However, what most women have only done once, and learned the hard way, is that keeping your lipstick in your bra can do the exact same thing,” Esther explained.
“For the love of lipstick, keep it out of your bra – trust me, you will regret that convenient storage spot next time you go to touch up.”
“Coins, wallets, phones and sunglasses all act as anchors in your bra, pulling with gravity to weigh your breasts down. Putting anything heavy in your bra with reverse all reasons we wear a supportive bra in the first place,” Esther said.
“The right bra actively prevents some chronic physical symptoms as it supports your breasts and shoulders. Especially if you’re woman with a bigger bust, like our Storm in a D Cup community, wearing a bra can prevent neck and back problems and you don’t want to add any extra weight to your bra.”
“The most important thing to remember is, if you can fit something into the cup of your bra, you’re probably wearing the wrong size! It’s so important to get fitted for new bras regularly, as women’s bodies change shape throughout their lives. You can get fitted in their Bondi Store, or have an online virtual fitting with their expert bra-fitters, who fit curvy women with the most comfortable and supportive bras every single day. Their experience is second to none and they can tell what size you are just by looking at you. They’ll find you a bra that fits like a glove, not a bra that fits like a glove box!”