By Dr. Mercola
If you're an avid cell phone user who refuses to believe that holding this radiation-emitting device next to your head poses a potential health risk, take note...
Italy's supreme court has ruled that a man's brain tumor is, in fact, linked to his heavy cell phone use.
Heavy Cell Phone Use Caused Business Exec's Tumor
The man, Innocente Marcolini, reportedly used a cell phone for five to six hours a day for 12 years while talking to business clients.
He has since developed a tumor in his trigeminal nerve, at a location very close to where the phone came into contact with his head.
The tumor required surgery and has left his face partially paralyzed. After seeking to collect benefits from the Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), and being told there was no proof that his work habits had caused the tumor, he took the case to court, where it was ruled that there is a link between the use of mobile and cordless phones and tumors.
Apparently, INAIL relied on the Interphone study to make their decision (Interphone was a seriously flawed, partially industry-funded study that turned out to be a $30-million failure), but the court's assessment included studies by Professor Lennart Hardell of Sweden, stating they had more cases, involved long-term use and were independent (as opposed to Interphone's industry funding). Hardell has found that those who begin using cell phones heavily as teenagers have 4 to 5 times more brain cancer as young adults!
INAIL attempted to appeal the ruling, but the supreme court rejected it, saying the court's ruling was justified with credible scientific evidence to support it.
Just 50 Minutes of Cell Phone Use Alters Your Brain
Even if you don't use a cell phone for hours each day, research by leading brain imaging researcher Nora D. Volkow, MD of the National Institutes of Health, revealed that after just 50 minutes of cell phone exposure, the emitted radiation increases brain cell activity in the region closest to the cell phone antenna.1 The exact health effects of that increased brain activity are as of yet unknown, but the study effectively debunked the myth in U.S. government research circles that cell phone radiation at non-thermal levels is incapable of causing biological change.
Safety guidelines for microwave radiation emitting devices are based on the Specific Absorption Rate, known as the SAR value. The SAR value is a measure of the energy emitted by the cell phone and its potential for heating tissues – but the SAR only is a gauge the thermal impact of cell phone usage. As Volkow's research found, it is very likely that the non-thermal effects of chronic cell phone exposure are even more biologically damaging.
Recently, researchers at Columbia University have proposed a new method of assessing cell phone safety that would measure not the energy emitted by the device, but actual effects on DNA biochemistry. The paper, by Martin Blank, PhD and Reba M. Goodman, PhD, called "Electromagnetic fields and health: DNA-based dosimetry" was published by Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, June 7, 2012.
Drs. Blank and Goodman state, "We propose a biologically based measure of EMF radiation to replace the energy-based 'specific absorption rate' (SAR). A wide range of EMF frequencies has been linked to an increased risk of cancer... A safety standard for exposure to a wide range of non ionizing frequencies can be based on the documented changes in DNA biochemistry that arise from interactions with EMF."
Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org says, "Drs. Blank and Goodman have proposed a far more sensible means of assessing risk of electromagnetic fields, compared to the present highly limited SAR methodology. A DNA approach to risk would not only be more revealing in terms of cell phone radiation's effects on biochemistry, but it has the added advantage of being able to be apply across a wide range of frequencies."
Researchers Say Brain Tumors Set to Skyrocket Within 15 Years
The damage from cell phone exposure can take many years to surface. There are rarely any initial symptoms, just like smoking and lung cancer. So cases like Innocente Marcolini's are likely going to increase dramatically in coming years.
One analysis projected a very large increase in brain cancer incidence resulting from widespread mobile phone use beginning in approximately 15 years.2 This projection was based on well-established effects of cell phone radiation on DNA mutations, along with the finding that mobile phone use decreases the efficiency of the repair of mutated DNA. According to the findings:
"DNA brain cell damage has an average latency time of over 30 years before increased brain cancer rates would be expected. Mobile phone use may lead to a reduced DNA repair function resulting in about a 2-fold increase in brain cancer incidence, or with an increasing rate of initial DNA brain damage from mobile phone use a 25-fold increase in brain cancer incidence may result."
L. Lloyd Morgan, one of the study's authors, said,
"What this analysis shows is that, unless mobile phone usage behavior patterns significantly change, we can reasonably expect a pandemic of brain tumors, for which we are ill-prepared, beginning approximately 15 years from now.
Governments, as well as parents, physicians, schools and all citizens, would be well advised to educate all persons under their care or influence about the need to curtail the use of mobile phones and other radiation-emitting consumer devices."
It's Not Only Your Brain That's at Risk
Download Interview Transcript
The link between brain damage and cell phone use is becoming too strong to deny. Last year, even the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), reviewed relevant studies and declared that cell phones are possible cancer-causing agents, in the same category as diesel engine exhaust, some pesticides, and some heavy metals. The expert panel ruled that there was some evidence that regular cell phone use increased the risk of two types of tumors – brain tumors (gliomas) and acoustic neuromas.
But, you should know that brain tumors are only one risk. In the video above, Dr. Devra Davis, who is one of the most vocal researchers on the dangers of cell phones, shares information about the risks of cell phone use that you might not be aware of. She says:
"Studies that I talk about in my book 'Disconnect,' and that we show on our website, EnvironmentalHealthTrust.org, clearly indicate that pulse digital signals from cellphone radiation can alter membranes, weaken membranes, increase reactive oxygen species, which produce free radicals (which, as you know, are very damaging and go around wherever they find us (?), lose electron, knock it off, and can cause havoc within cells). Cellphone radiation, it does those things.
We don't understand the long-term biological effects, but I'm really concerned that the major damage from cellphone radiation is to our reproductive organs. People keeping phones in their pockets – the fine print warnings say don't do that."
This is why wearing a cell phone on your hip is one of the worst places to store your phone, as it may weaken an area of your pelvis, and cell phone radiation has also been found to affect men's sperm count, and the quality and motility of their sperm. ElectromagneticHealth.org summarized the key fertility science in its "Letter to Parents on Fertility and Other Risks to Children from Wireless Technologies."
A cell phone is a two-way microwave-radiating device whose long-term use has been associated with not only brain tumors but 7 cancers in all, including glioma, acoustic neuroma, meningioma, salivary gland tumors, eye cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia, along with a wide range of other biological effects.
Countries Around the World are Urging Caution With Cell Phones, Especially for Children
The cell phone industry is one of the fastest growing and strongest global industries in the world today and is even stronger than the pharmaceutical industry. As a multi-trillion dollar industry whose advertising dollars support media around the world, this industry is capable of making sizable political donations and of employing persistent lobbying efforts that influence and sometimes dictate government policies.
So while cell phone dangers will one day likely be as well known as tobacco dangers, there's going to be a window when people are extremely vulnerable. That window is right now.
Children are especially vulnerable to damage from cell phone radiation, and should not use cell phones at all. Men and women who want to have healthy children need to take special precautions to protect their reproductive organs and should not keep phones in their front or back pockets or close to their abdomens – just as fine print warnings in the cell phone manuals advise.
"The brain is actually protected in part by the skull, because bone is more dense than brain, which contains fluid. The brain of a child, the head of a child is particularly vulnerable because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more fluid. It's the fluid in fat which can absorb more microwave radiation," Dr. Davis states.
Around the world, many countries are already adopting the Precautionary Principle. Canadians are being encouraged to limit cell phone call length and to text message or use a hands-free device whenever possible. Russian officials have issued the recommendation that all children under the age of 18 should avoid using cell phones entirely. The UK, Israel, Belgium, Germany, India, France and Finland also urge citizens to err on the side of caution with respect to their children's use of cell phones.
In the United States, public warnings are not yet commonplace, but it's still important to protect yourself. Davis continued:
"Practicing safe phone use is very simple. It means distance is your friend. Keep the phone off your body. Use an air tube headset if you can find one, or any headset will do, so long as it's not dripping down the front of your body and conducting it right back into you. Never keep a phone on in your pocket or on your body."
You can help to minimize your exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices by heeding the following advice:
- Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type.
- Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. If you're pregnant, avoiding or reducing your cell phone use is critically important.
- 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. SKYPE offers an online, portable number,with voicemail one can access via any Ethernet port while traveling, or via wireless access if necessary.
- 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 as often as you do. And most importantly, do not even consider having any electronic or wireless devices in the bedroom that will interfere with the quality of your sleep, and if there is a wireless router, make sure it is turned off at night.
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may be less damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
EcoDect portable phones, which only transmit radiation when being used, have been introduced in Germany, where we are encouraged to learn that country's Environmental Minister, Peter Altmaier, has named 'Improving Protection from Electromagnetic Fields' # 6 of his 10-Point Plan. We expect in time to see similar portable phones here.
You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
- 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.
- Avoid Carrying Your Phone on Your Body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
- Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer than Another: There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone. This is particularly true when it comes to SAR ratings, which are virtually useless in measuring the true potential biological danger as most all of the damage is not done by heat transfer, which SAR measures.
- 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, nor near a cell phone that is 'On' for lengthy periods.
- Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
If you are using the Pong case, which redirects the cell phone radiation away from the head and successfully lowers the SAR effect, realize that in redirecting the radiation away from your head this may be intensifying the radiation in another direction, perhaps toward the person next to you, or, if in your pocket, increasing radiation intensity toward your body. Caution is always advised in dealing with any radiation-emitting device. We recommend cell phones be kept 'Off' except for emergencies.
- 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.
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.