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Warning! This Cell Phone Safety ‘Spin’ Could Make You Dizzy

December 22, 2009 | 39,245 views

cell phonesAccording to headlines trumpeted around the world, cell phones are safe. This “reassuring” conclusion rests on an analysis of trends in brain cancer in Scandinavian countries up to 2003, which did NOT tie these trends in any way to actual patterns of use of cell phones.

Researchers analyzed annual incidence rates of two types of brain tumors -- glioma and meningioma -- among adults aged 20 to 79 from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1974 to 2003.

Over the 30 years, nearly 60,000 patients were diagnosed with brain tumors.

"In Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, the use of mobile phones increased sharply in the mid-1990s; thus, time trends in brain tumor incidence after 1998 may provide information about possible tumor risks associated with mobile phone use," the researchers wrote.

They did see a small, steady increase in brain tumors, but it started in 1974, long before mobile phones existed.

"No change in incidence trends were observed from 1998 to 2003," they added. That would have been when tumors would start showing up, assuming it took five to 10 years for one to develop, they said.

It is possible, Deltour's team wrote, that it takes longer than 10 years for tumors caused by mobile phones to turn up, that the tumors are too rare in this group to show a useful trend, or that there are trends but they are in subgroups too small to be measured in the study.

It's known that brain tumor latency can be at least 30 years, so some consider this absurd to try and draw conclusions from this short period of time. Also, the researchers did not mention age-specific incidence of brain tumors, even though you will see an increase in age-specific incidence of brain tumors before an increase in the general population.

Further, the data was actually collected and available through 2007, but the researchers cut the analysis off at 2003. This is currently being investigated to find out if the extra four years of data would change the study results.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

We all recognize the tremendous convenience factor of cell phones, which is why their use has exploded to over 4 billion phones around the world. But, their safety, and their impact on your brain, remains a matter of grave concern that merits serious research and will not be resolved by spinning limited and misleading studies such as this one.

Although the authors of this analysis of brain cancer in adults in Northern Europe note that their findings could simply mean that their study did not follow people for a long enough period of time and that their study did not determine or focus on those individuals who had used cell phones the most for the longest, especially young adults, the study appears to leave important aspects out ... and not by accident.

For starters is the four years of missing data that was left out of the analysis for an unknown reason. Further, their analysis solely reported on the trend in this one site of cancer, and only looked for a cancer trend that would have shown up if it took five to 10 years for the cancer to develop. But often it can take much longer.

Devra Davis, PhD, professor, Department of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, points out the dangers of believing this most recent media spin job:

"In Sweden, Norway and Finland, about half of all persons had cell phones in 2000," she says. "It would be unreasonable to expect to see any general population effect from such phone use in such a short period of time. Scientists know that brain cancer can take a decade or longer to develop in adults.

In the case of the Hiroshima bombing that ended World War Two, brain cancers associated with that one time massive exposure to radiation did not become evident until forty years later."

A study in Radiation Research also showed a 30-year latency for brain tumors in a study of patients treated for ringworm with x-rays.

Professor Lennart Hardell of Sweden has found that those who begin using cell phones heavily as teenagers have 4 to 5 times more brain cancer as young adults! In this recent study of the entire population, very few persons are likely to have been heavy users of cell phones for more than a decade and even fewer will have done so since adolescence.

Given the limited networks available at the time that this Scandinavian study began, and the high cost of earlier phones, proportionally few people have been heavy users for a long period of time, Davis points out. So to conclude that the absence of a clear trend of increased brain tumors in Scandinavia means that there will be no such trend in the future is wishful thinking that endangers all of us.

Even the Media is Being Manipulated

Lloyd Morgan, lead author of the recent white paper Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, was also outraged by the media’s misleading portrayal of this study, and pointed out that the induction period for brain tumors is at least 30 years. He said:

“It continues to amaze me how easily the media is manipulated. The authors KNOW that no solid tumor, particularly brain tumors, has such a short latency time. And, it is not until nearly the end of the paper where they qualify what is said in the abstract.”

He continues:

“The funding comes from "Danish Strategic Research Council," which lists among its goals

  • Commercialization of research.

  • Interaction between knowledge institutions and the business community.

Following the source of the funding there is a note, "The study sponsor did not have any role in the design of the study; the collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data; the writing of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication."

This is a perfect example of what Shakespeare said so well, "The lady doth protest too loudly!"

Please Protect Yourself Starting Today!

Recent studies by scientists in many different nations have found that radiofrequency signals can directly damage DNA and inhibit DNA repair damaged through other causes, <!--EndFragment-->producing any noticeable change in temperature, and can produce cancer-inducing free radicals, proteins known to be tied with mutation, and memory loss in both animals and humans.

 

Given the dramatic increase in mobile phone use in the past few years, it is foolish to assume that their safety has been established. As Dr. Devra Davis points out:

“The technologies are changing rapidly. We need a major international research program to evaluate their impact on health, especially how they affect the brain of the young. Israel, France, China, Russia, Finland, Scotland, the U.K., and the European Commission have all issued various warnings to limit the use of cell phones by children.

The brain of a child doubles in the first two years of life and is not fully mature and protected until the early twenties.

Four billion people today are using cell phones and many of them are under the age of twenty. In truth the jury is out on the long-term impacts of cell phones on our health. There is no scientific basis to conclude otherwise.”

 

Cell phones, like all wireless communication devices, use radio (high frequency) waves to transmit digital data, and the dangers of consistent exposure were known as early as the 1950s in military applications. The hazards of radar, used in WWII, have been widely known in professional circles since the 1960s. Yet few have been willing to focus on the evidence, and the cellular industry has followed in the footsteps of the tobacco industry, vehemently denying any risks.

 

It’s worth remembering that the telecommunication industry is even BIGGER than Big Pharma, and they have far more influence than the drug companies.

My belief is that this exponential increase in this type of radiation exposure is far more serious a threat than tobacco ever was.

To get a better understanding of the physics and biological impact of information-carrying radio waves and the electromagnetic fields emitted from your cell phone, please review the article, "If Mobile Phones Were a Type of Food, They Simply Would Not be Licensed."

Likewise, if mobile phones were a chemical or a drug, they would be yanked from the market.

So far, in addition to the widespread concern about brain cancer, scientists have found that digital radio waves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:

  • Harm your blood cells and cause cellular changes

  • Damage your DNA

  • Possibly accelerate and contribute to onset of autism, and there are theories that it may be a trigger for Alzheimer’s disease because of the cellular decalcification effect.

  • Damage your eyes

  • Cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches

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I have been warning of the dangers of cell phones for over a decade now, watching for and reporting on new findings along the way. Fortunately, as the supporting evidence mounts, scientists, medical professionals, and government agencies around the world are starting to caution against cell phone use as well.

Top Cell Phone Safety Tips

Remember, the damage from cell phone exposure will take many years to surface, and there are rarely any initial symptoms, just like smoking and lung cancer.

At this point, you cannot completely avoid wireless radiation from all sources since they’re so pervasive. Getting rid of your cell phone altogether can help protect you. But even if you don’t want to take that step, you can still minimize your exposure and reduce your risks by following these common sense guidelines:

  • Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones and other factors.

  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters.

  • Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.

  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time. Even portable home phones, including the older kind that operate at 900 MHz, can be a problem. The lesson from the field is that all DECT portable phones are a problem. If you do not know if you have a DECT phone (as many are not labeled as such), the ONLY way to know for sure is to measure. You can learn about measuring instrumentation at www.emfsafetystore.com.

For "hands free" calls at home, I recommend getting the old-fashioned speaker phone (either attached to the phone or separate) or using SKYPE on your computer on speaker mode, which is terrific.

  • Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception. Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag.

  • Turn Your Cell Phone Off When Not in Use: As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.

  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is near the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body near this area and proximity is everything. The closer the phone is to your body, the worse the exposure -- with the exposure falling off dramatically with distance. Thus, using the speaker mode, the farther you can keep the phone away from your body and still hear the call, the better.

  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain and your body, for example over your heart.

Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.

The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

Even though there are many spin studies like this Scandinavian study, savvy government leaders are seeing through it and beginning to take a stand for public health in this country.

San Francisco, for instance, may become the first U.S. city to require that cell phone retailers label the devices with the level of radiation they emit. While this labeling is still not an accurate measure of safety, it still shows that public attitudes and perceptions about cell phone safety are rapidly changing.

For further information, listen to this excellent Media Teleclass on Cellphones and Brain Tumors -- featuring four leading experts.

Listen for yourself to experts who are independent of the telecom industry and close to the science, as well as to the questions the media posed of them. Moderated by Camilla Rees, MBA of www.ElectromagneticHealth.org, the teleclass features Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, David Carpenter, MD, Lloyd Morgan, BS and Joel Moskowitz, PhD.


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