Secret Link Between Cigarettes and Cell Phones?

cell phones, cancer, brain cancer, tumors, brain tumors, radio waves, cellular, electromagnetic fields, EMF, ELFCell phones are used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide.

A recent review of studies assessed whether there was epidemiologic evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor.

In order to be included in the analysis, studies were required to have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, included participants who had used cell phone for 10 or more years, and analyzed the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage. Eleven long-term epidemiologic studies fit the criteria.

The results indicated that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use.

Iowa senator Tom Harkin, newly empowered to investigate health matters as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has promised to probe deeply into any potential links between cell phone use and cancer.

Harkin, who took over the committee after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, said he was concerned no one has been able to prove cell phones do not cause cancer. A staffer said the senator became concerned by a report from the Environmental Working Group showing that radio wave emissions vary from one cell phone brand and model to another, as well as some reports suggesting there might be a link.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

According to Reuters, an estimated 4 billion people worldwide now use cell phones, up from about 3 billion around this time just last year.

Dangers Known for a Decade

Cell phones use radio waves to transmit voice data, and the dangers of consistent exposure to information-carrying radio waves have been known since at least 1998. Yet few have been willing to accept 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."

The first major indication that cell phones might be a health hazard came out of a massive, $28 million research project funded by the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). To the industry’s surprise and dismay, the results of the study came to the opposite conclusion from the one they were hoping for.

The study's results included findings of:

  • A nearly 300 percent increase in the incidence of genetic damage when human blood cells were exposed to radiation in the cellular frequency band

  • A significant increase in cell phone users’ risk of brain tumors at the brain’s outer edge, on whichever side the cell phone was held most often

  • A 60 percent greater chance of acoustic neuromas, a tumor affecting the nerve that controls hearing, among people who had used cell phones for six years or more

  • A higher rate of brain cancer deaths among handheld mobile phone users than among car phone users (car phones are mounted on the dashboard rather than held next to your head)

Prior to this, Alfred Gilman and Martin Rodbell had won the Nobel Prize (1994) for their research showing your body's cells communicate with each other by subtle low electromagnetic signals. These signals carry all the vital information that are then translated into biochemical and physiological processes.

The following year, researchers discovered that animals exposed to cell phone radiation suffered double-strand DNA breakage – the type of genetic alterations that can lead to cancer, cell death and mutagenic problems.

Since then, many more scientists confirmed all of the above findings.

The Latest Findings Confirm Long-Held Concerns

The latest meta-analysis looks at the epidemiological evidence of cell phone usage and your risk of developing a brain tumor. In order to be included, the studies had to meet certain criteria:

  1. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal

  2. Inclusion of participants using cell phones for a minimum of 10 years (to include potential latent effects

  3. Incorporation of a "laterality" analysis of long-term users (i.e., analysis of the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage)

Eleven long-term epidemiologic studies were included, which led to the following findings:

“The results indicate that using a cell phone for > or = 10 years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same ("ipsilateral") side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use.

The data achieve statistical significance for glioma and acoustic neuroma but not for meningioma.

The authors conclude that there is adequate epidemiologic evidence to suggest a link between prolonged cell phone usage and the development of an ipsilateral brain tumor.”

Other Health Hazards Linked to Cell Phone Use

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

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.

Health Authorities and Government Officials Speak Out

Last year, tumor immunologist Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), was one of the authorities who finally elected to speak out publicly about the potential dangers of cell phones. He also spoke to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy about the connection between cell phone use and the increased risk of brain cancer.

Prior to that, The BioInitiative Report, published August 31, 2007, by an international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals offered a serious warning to the public.

The report documents serious scientific concerns about the current limits regulating how much radiation is allowable from power lines, cell phones, and many other sources of exposure to radiofrequencies and electromagnetic fields in daily life. They concluded that the existing standards for public safety do not protect your health.

The report also includes studies showing evidence for:

  • Effects on Gene and Protein Expression (Transcriptomic and Proteomic Research)

  • Genotoxic Effects – RFR and ELF DNA Damage

  • Stress Response (Stress Proteins)

  • Effects on Immune Function

  • Effects on Neurology and Behavior

  • Brain Tumors and Acoustic Neuromas

  • Childhood Cancers (Leukemia)

  • Magnetic Field Exposure: Melatonin Production; Alzheimer’s Disease; Breast Cancer

  • Breast Cancer Promotion (Melatonin links in laboratory and cell studies)

  • Disruption by the Modulating Signal

Another noted brain cancer authority who voiced his concerns last year was Australian Dr Vini Gautam Khurana. His paper titled: Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors was the result of reviewing more than 100 sources of recent medical and scientific literature on this topic.

Iowa senator Tom Harkin, now chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has recently vowed to investigate any potential links between cell phone use and cancer, noting that the Senate Health committee does have jurisdiction over both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

On September 14th, he called a hearing of the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to start looking into the many questions surrounding this issue. He also stated he will get the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involved.

"I'm reminded of this nation's experience with cigarettes,” Harkin said.

“Decades passed between the first warnings about smoking tobacco and the final definitive conclusion that cigarettes cause lung cancer."

Protect Yourself and Your Children

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.

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. 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 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.