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Are Cell Phones the Next Cigarettes?

cell phone, mobile phoneMobile phones have been around for more than 20 years and are now used by more than 3 billion people. Yet questions linger over whether mobile phones can contribute to health problems, including cancer. Cell phones have only been mainstream products for 10 years or so, and it may take much longer than that for adverse effects to show up.

New studies on health and cell phones are tough to get going. In the United States, most research on the topic was discontinued at the beginning of the decade, largely because industry groups and government considered the questions resolved and haven't been willing to finance new studies.

But scientists are concerned that cutting off studies could be a mistake.

"It was 15, 20 years after people began smoking that we saw concerns associated with it," says Michael Kelsh, principle scientist and epidemiologist for Exponent, a scientific consulting firm. "Down the road, the same could happen with phones."

The latency period for brain tumors can be 10 to 15 years.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
During the first half of the 20th century tobacco companies became the largest advertiser in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The “scientific” claims that were approved to run in these medical journal ads included such catchy phrases as:
  • "Just what the doctor ordered" (L&M cigarettes)
  • "For digestion's sake, smoke Camels" (it was said that Camel cigarettes would "stimulate the flow of digestive fluids")
  • "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette"
  • "Not a cough in a carload" (for Old Gold cigarettes)
It’s hard to believe, knowing what we do now about smoking, that ads like these ever existed. Yet they did, and no one gave a second thought to smoking cigarettes. It was simply accepted as safe and even healthy.

Sound familiar?

Right now you are likely one of the 3 billion people in the world who owns and uses a cell phone. Never before in history have people used this technology so frequently, and on an ongoing basis, nor have they been exposed to the EMR that come from all types of wireless technologies like we are on a daily basis.

Yet, most everyone assumes cell phones are safe, largely because they have been reassured by scientists heavily influenced by the telecommunication industry. Why shouldn’t they, after all, as no big warnings have come out touting cell phone dangers.

And don’t expect them to. Just as big tobacco did all they could to keep you convinced that cigarettes were healthy, the cell phone industry will do what’s necessary to make you believe cell phones are safe.

And all the while you’re chatting away with a cell phone pressed against your ear, unaware of the electromagnetic radiation shooting out -- at the speed of light -- in all directions (including directly into your brain).

Perhaps what angers me the most is the utter disregard for the children using these phones. A recent study showed that electromagnetic radiation can penetrate almost straight through the brain of a 5-year-old child.

WARNING: Limit Cell Phone Use to Prevent Cancer

You may recall the recent warning issued by Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, based on unpublished data.

"Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later," Herberman said in USA Today.

So please consider yourself warned as well. Just because these findings haven’t been widely publicized in the United States does not mean the risk isn’t there.

To date, several countries including France, Germany and India have issued recommendations to limit your exposure to electromagnetic fields. Additionally, Toronto’s Department of Public Health is now advising teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones, to avoid potential health risks.

Slowly but surely the information, and the truth, are trickling out. And the truth is, we are on the verge of a brain cancer epidemic. It could grow to 500,000 cases worldwide as soon as 2010, and there may be over 1 million cases in the United States alone by 2015. 

Even if you manage to avoid brain cancer, there are risks ranging from headaches and dizziness to Alzheimer’s disease and impotence.

I truly believe that the evidence against cell phones is already far too compelling to ignore. Take a look through some of the research that’s been going on and I bet you’ll agree with me …

“Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumor Risk is No Longer a Myth”

In February 2008, Dr. Gautam Khurana, a Mayo Clinic-trained neurosurgeon with an advanced neurosurgery fellowship in cerebral vascular and tumor microsurgery, issued a paper titled Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors -- after 14 months of independent research, reviewing more than 100 sources of recent medical and scientific literature.  

Says Dr. Khurana, “In the context of the fact that widespread mobile phone usage commenced in the mid-1980s (earliest in Northern Europe), with the first 10 years of widespread usage ending in the mid-1990s, and the fact that solid tumors may take several years to trigger and form, it seems plausible to expect that if no appropriate changes are made by industry and consumers alike, in the next 5 - 10 years the aforementioned concerning associations will likely be definitely proven in the medical literature.” 

He goes on to say: “Given the calculated “incubation time” and the commencement of mobile telephony’s mass deployment in Sweden, it is no surprise that Swedish researchers were among the first to report a positive association between cell phone use and brain tumor risk.”

He then says, “Taken together the data … compellingly suggest that the link between mobile phones and brain tumors should no longer be regarded as a myth … “

“There is currently enough evidence and technology available to warrant industry and governments alike in taking immediate steps to reduce exposure of consumers to mobile phone-related electromagnetic radiation and to make consumers clearly aware of potential dangers and how to use this technology sensibly and safely.”

And this part was too poignant to not include: “It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health implications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children.”

So please do not wait for further warnings. If you’ve been wondering about the safety of cell phones, now you know.

Start Protecting Yourself NOW

I recently finished my latest book, Wireless Deception, which will finally reveal the major risks of cell phones and wireless technologies. I hope to have it out in the fall.

But don’t even wait until then to begin protecting yourself. I’ve posted the following wireless safety tips so that you can become safer NOW, and I highly suggest you take these to heart, and share them with all of your friends and loved ones.
  • Children Should Avoid 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.
  • 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. If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least they do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.
  • 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.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When It Is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
  • 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 information-carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain. 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.

+ Sources and References