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New iPhone Has No Headphone Jack

iphone 7

Story at-a-glance -

  • Apple's newest iPhone, generation 7, touting a thinner profile, exceptional water resistance and improved sound quality, will not feature a standard headphone jack
  • Beginning with iPhone 6, Apple’s fine print advises that to reduce exposure to radio frequency (RF) energy, users should opt for hands-free options, such as the built-in speakerphone, headphones or similar accessories
  • One study said existing public safety limits on RF exposure are inadequate to protect public health, and an expert said it will take generations to determine the full environmental and biological impact it has made
  • Brain and heart cancers, malignant tumors, reproductive function, fetal development and tissue damage are some of the negative impacts caused by RF and electromagnetic field (EMF) energy

By Dr. Mercola

Apple just announced that its newest brainchild, iPhone 7, which touts a thinner profile, exceptional water resistance and superior sound quality, will not feature a standard headphone jack.1

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) linked with wireless phone use as possibly carcinogenic to humans (aka cancer-causing), with potential for "increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer."2 The report was issued in 2011.

Apple's Legal page suggests that, "To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built in speakerphone, the supplied headphones or other similar accessories.

Carry (your phone) at least 5 [millimeters] (about half an inch) away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at, or below, the as-tested levels."3

However, new wireless AirPods (a premium accessory you can buy) will basically put radio transceivers in your ears. One problem with this recommendation is that wireless headphones increase the distance between your phone and your head, but you're simply exchanging one RF device and picking up another, CNN asserted.

"The RF of any wireless device — a cell phone, Bluetooth headphones or a wireless router — emits non-ionizing radiation. These devices aren't as dangerous as those that emit ionizing radiation, such as X-ray machines, but some experts remain wary of them nonetheless."4

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently concluded its "largest, most complex" two-year study,5 on potential health hazards of cell phone use. They found that RF and EMF exposure increases brain tumors in rats and mice; more significantly, in humans, a Scientific American article reported.6

Jerry Phillips, a biochemist and director of the Excel Science Center at the University of Colorado, said in a follow-up article that RF signals may interact with living tissues. Children and pregnant women using them are particularly vulnerable.

"It was always assumed that because the power being created by the handsets was low enough, there would be insufficient energy for heat production — and without heat production there would be no biological effects on users whatsoever."7

Cell Phone Use Worldwide and Why It's a Problem

Chairman of the neurosurgery department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Keith Black, noted that one of the most troubling aspects of cell phone use is that it will take, at minimum, generations to determine the full environmental and physical impact from exposure to these devices.

As of 2014, there were officially more mobile devices in the world than people. The recorded number at that time was 7.2 billion.8 Experts projected there will be $77 billion worth of cell phone revenue generated by 2017.9 Nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. own one.

Some "experts" think there's no reason for concern because they're viewing only the thermal effects of cell phones and how the body absorbs RF energy. The industry assures energy levels are too low to heat tissues, measured by Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), so there must not be biological consequences from cell phone use.

The recommendation for cell phone buyers is to compare ratings and pick one with a lower SAR. But SAR ratings can be considered worthless because only the radiation heat penetrating into your head is considered. Cell phone wave energy, signal modulation or magnetic fields created by the batteries aren't taken into account.

What about cell phones in shirt and jeans pockets, or tucked in hats and belts? CNN's report on the new Apple 7, as well as potential impacts on users, quoted Black's assessment:

"What microwave radiation does, in most simplistic terms, is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain.

So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."10

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Cell Phone Radiation Concerns

The wireless industry calls radiation from FM radios and microwave ovens "non-ionizing." But when you use a cell phone to make a call, text or access data, your phone first sends RF waves from its antenna to nearby cell towers, then receives RF waves in return back to its antenna.

Most people hold their cell phones to their ears, which projects about 70 percent of the antenna's energy straight into your head.

You should hold your phones as far from your bodies as possible, especially during the initial hook-up, when the most power is being exchanged, and whenever possible, use the speaker function or a safe headset.

You might ask, why don't cell phone manufacturers tell us these things? The sad and infuriating fact is, nearly 75 percent of the studies alleging there are no toxic effects from cell phone use were funded by either the military or the wireless industry.

Of the independent studies conducted on the topic, 67 percent weren't linked to the industry which, it should be noted, was at last count worth around $171 billion.

Government Entities on Radiation and Electromagnetic Field Exposure

In May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a "partial report"11 on potential cell phone radiofrequency radiation hazards, based on the rats and mice experiments. Results will be open for peer review and comment by the end of 2017. CNN's response:

"CNN typically does not report on animal studies, because the results often don't translate to humans.

However, these rare, aggressive [and] malignant tumors that occurred in male rats are the very same tumors found in epidemiologic studies in humans using cell phones for the longest period of time."

CNN quoted Dr. Devra Davis, founder and president of the Environmental Health Trust, and visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, asserts:

"The reason they released a partial report was because the senior scientist leading the study realized how extraordinarily important those results were. There is no other substance I know of where results like this have occurred in the National Toxicology Program." 

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says that if there's an RF exposure risk from cell phone use — "and at this point we do not know that there is" — it's probably very small. But if people are still concerned, they should spend less time on the phone and use the speakerphone function or wired headset.12 But Davis astutely reveals:

"My understanding is that the current generation of phones contain more sophisticated accelerometers that indicate when the phone is held next to the head and automatically put the phone on the lowest power possible, in order to both save battery life and reduce [RF] exposure to the brain or body, which would indicate a recognition of the need to reduce exposures directly to people." 

What the Wireless Industry Versus Studies Say About RF Energy

According to CNN, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) "strongly disputes" the notion that RF energy does any kind of damage to cell phone users.

In lock step, the industry sticks to the narrative that "scientific consensus, based on peer-reviewed evidence in the U.S. and a number of other countries, indicates that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk for adults or children." 

It further advises that people with concerns should place more distance between their body and the source of the RF, such as using a hands-free device, and reduce their "talk time."13

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences submitted a study showing that that in mice studies, whole body exposure to cell phone radiation may cause brain and heart cancer.

And, in a pooled analysis of case-controlled studies, Oncology Reports found an increased risk of brain tumors among heavy users of mobile and cordless phones.14

Another study concluded that EMF exposure can alter reproductive function, cellular homeostasis, endocrine function and fetal development in animals, as well as early embryonic development and pregnancy success.

In animal experiments, the adverse effects on reproductive function depended on the frequency, wave strength and duration of exposure.15 

The title of another study explains it very well: "Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields a potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment."16 The conclusion was that "existing public safety limits are inadequate to protect public health."

Wave Energy Problems, Including Microwave

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published some interesting anecdotes relating to microwave radio exposure, but adds that:

"Many statements from industry spokesmen state that 'not enough is known' about these exposures to identify risk, or that there is 'insufficient' or 'incomplete' evidence regarding such risks, or that there is 'no scientific consensus' on this risk. This implies that there isn't much scientific information on this subject. But actually, there is a great deal of research documenting adverse biological effects from low level RF exposures."

One of the most interesting accounts was covered in BioMed Central in 2012,17 regarding the U.S. embassy in Russia, which was inundated by radiation from a microwave transmitter positioned on the roof of a nearby building between 1953 and 1978. Russian medical researchers, according to the FCC, listed such symptoms as headache, fatigue, dizziness, cardiovascular abnormalities, sleep disorders, depression, irritability and memory impairment.

"Exposed embassy staff experienced a statistically significant excess of several problems, including: depression, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, memory loss, ear problems, skin problems, vascular problems and other health problems. Symptom incidence increased significantly with accrued years of exposure."18

The wide array of symptoms finally led to an investigation, led by Dr. A.M. Lilienfield, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.

"The abnormalities found in this study were an embarrassment to the U.S. government, since the levels of exposure experienced by embassy staff inside the building were … dramatically below the described U.S. safety standards for microwave exposure. It appears that the conclusions of the study were altered to soft-pedal any abnormal findings."19

In 2001, La Ñora, Spain, a population of 1,900, had a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cell phone tower. A questionnaire, which residents filled out, contained 25 health concerns they called "RF syndrome" or "microwave sickness."

The symptoms included poor concentration, irritability, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. Similar problems were noted in Norway in 1998, France in 2002 and the populated area around a cell phone tower in Shebeen El-Kom, Egypt. People in Austria, Cypress and Bavaria have experienced similar problems.

Taking Responsibility: Use Caution With Wireless Devices

At the very least, cell phone users should use caution: Never "wear" your cell phone, store it in shirt pockets or hold it in your hand as you walk or drive. Don't use wired baby monitors or let kids play with radiating cell phones, as biological consequences have been documented. Use a wired earpiece that keeps the phone the furthest from your head, and use landlines whenever possible. Asked what the take-away is from the studies to use caution, Phillips concluded,

"If you look at all of the research being done on this, it's all from outside this country. People want to believe their technology is safe. I do. I would love to believe it, but I know better."20