The Interphone Study Group did finally acknowledge the increased risk of brain cancer among long-term, heavy users of cell phones. However, the International EMF Collaborative argues that the study still seriously underestimated the brain cancer risk.
They found 11 key design flaws -- for example, individuals using cordless phones but not cell phones were considered 'unexposed' for purposes of the Interphone analysis, though exposed to the same radiation.
According to Electromagnetic Health, other issues with the Interphone study include:
- Results were only provided for brain cancers (gliomas) and meningiomas, but not tumors within the 20 percent of the brain's volume irradiated by cell phones
- Risk was not broken down by gender, which may have obfuscated even higher risk of meningiomas in women
- The 5-year old results are woefully inadequate as a gauge of risk today, as adults and children now speak on cell phones many hours a day compared to only 2 to 2 ½ hours a month at that time
Eileen O'Connor, Director of the Radiation Research Trust and member of the International EMF Collaborative, says:
"Four billion people own mobile phones worldwide, many of those users are children. Responsible governments must advocate for public transparency of risks so that an informed public may have more options to exercise precaution".
Last month, the long awaited results of the Interphone study were finally released -- years too late to mean much to anybody and with more holes in the study design than Swiss cheese.
Nevertheless, the results ignited a lightening storm of media headlines, many claiming, falsely, that the study found no link, or unclear evidence, linking cell phones to brain cancer.
In reality, the Interphone study, which cost more than $30 million (part of which was funded by the mobile phone industry) to carry out and was intended to be the final word about cell phone risks or safety, has turned out to be an expensive failure, with researchers saying no clear link was found between cell phones and cancer … then admitting they're really not sure that's actually the case.
Christopher Wild, director of the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), told Reuters:
"The results really don't allow us to conclude that there is any risk associated with mobile phone use, but... it is also premature to say that there is no risk associated with it."
Ah. Now there's $30 million well spent.
What is most disturbing about the report, though, is that when you look at Interphone's results in light of its design flaws, they paint a very dreary, and dangerous, picture for the future of cell phone users.
What Did Interphone Prove About Cell Phone Use?
While certain media outlets continue to claim that regular cell phone use is unlikely to cause brain cancer, you should know that Interphone found "heavy users" of cell phones were found to have an approximately doubled risk of glioma, a life threatening and often-fatal brain tumor, after 10 years of cell phone use.
What was the definition of a heavy user?
About two hours … a month!
When this study was conducted (1999-2004), cell phone use had not yet exploded to the extent it has today. Now, the results are clearly outdated, because in the decade that's passed since the study was begun, cell phone use has grown exponentially and it is not at all unusual for people to use a cell phone for two hours or more a day!
What this means is that if you use your cell phone for two hours a month or more, you may be doubling your risk of a potentially fatal brain tumor. Use your cell phone significantly more than that, and your risk is likely much, much higher.
As Camilla Rees, founder of ElectromagneticHealth.org, wrote:
"An extremely light user today might use the cell phone for two hours a month (a 'heavy user' at the time of the Interphone study), while many others use the cell phone for much of the day, making risk of brain tumor potentially far, far greater, and also of enormous unknown risk to children."
The Interphone Study is VERY Seriously Flawed
A team of international EMF activists -- the International EMF Collaborative -- released a report detailing 11 serious design flaws of the Interphone study, highlighting what they call a 'systemic-skew' that greatly underestimated brain tumor risk. Among them:
- Categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cell phones) as 'unexposed'
- Excluding many types of brain tumors
- Excluding people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed as a consequence of their brain tumor
- Excluding children and young adults, who are more vulnerable to the effects of radiation and who now use cell phones heavily
The Interphone study also has data on two other tumor types, acoustic neuromas and salivary gland tumors, which have been associated with cell phone use in the past. But the information was not included in the recently published results.
You can read the full report, "Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone," here. After closely reviewing the facts and the flaws of Interphone, the report concluded:
- There is a risk of brain tumors from cell phone use
- Telecom-funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors
- Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors
As Lloyd Morgan, lead author of the report and member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society says:
"Exposure to cell phone radiation is the largest human health experiment ever undertaken, without informed consent, and has some 4 billion participants enrolled.
Science has shown increased risk of brain tumors from use of cell phones, as well as increased risk of eye cancer, salivary gland tumors, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia.
The public must be informed."
The President's Cancer Panel is Also Concerned about Cell Phones
In a 240-page report devoted to how to reduce environmental cancer risks, the President's Cancer Panel clearly notes wireless technology as a formidable force in the fight against environmental cancers.
The report states:
"The use of cell phones and other wireless technology is of great concern, particularly since these devices are being used regularly by ever larger and younger segments of the population..
… the research on cancer and other disease risk among long-term and heavy users of contemporary wireless devices is extremely limited. Similarly, current and potential harms from extremely low frequency radiation are unclear and require further study."
The panel members consulted with close to 50 medical experts in writing this report, and clearly they have recognized that one of the main challenges in proving the link between cell phones and cancer is that they have only recently infiltrated the market.
The panel writes:
"It is not known exactly what percentage of all cancers either are initiated or promoted by an environmental trigger … Some exposures to an environmental hazard occur as a single acute episode, but most often, individual or multiple harmful exposures take place over a period of weeks, months, years, or a lifetime."
And that's exactly what's happening with cell phones and brain cancer.
It's Still Too Soon for Most Cell Phone-Induced Brain Tumors to Show Up
The induction period for brain tumors can be at least 30 years. Cell phones have only been widely used for a decade or so, and usage is only increasing. What this means is that the real effects of regular cell phone usage will not begin to show up for another 10 or more years, but by then it will be too late.
The President's Cancer Panel, realizing this, has urged the usage of the precautionary principle, stating that "when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."
In the case of cell phones and wireless technologies, there is more than credible evidence that a hazard exists, and immediate steps should be taken to prevent further exposure. Without them, we will almost certainly be headed for a brain cancer epidemic the likes of which the world has never seen.
Please Protect Yourself, and Your Family, Starting Today
Remember, just like smoking and lung cancer, there are rarely any initial symptoms from using a cell phone, but by the time the symptoms show up, it could be too late. Are you really willing to risk the chance of developing brain cancer just for the convenience of using a cell phone?
We've survived for generations without them before, and we can do it again now. At the very least, you can minimize your exposure and your risk level by:
- 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 speakerphone (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.
As always, you can stay abreast of the latest cell phone and electromagnetic field news and research at EMF.Mercola.com.