By Dr. Mercola
As I discuss in this video, the debate over whether cellphone exposure causes brain tumors may be counterproductive. Think about the number of people you know who carry and use cellphones daily. According to the United Nations more people worldwide have cellphones than have access to toilets.1
While nearly everyone you know carries a cellphone, and probably has for a decade or more, it's likely you don't know anyone who has a brain tumor. Every year approximately 80,000 U.S. men, women and children are diagnosed with a brain tumor.2 In comparison, 787,000 people die each year from heart disease.3
The relative rarity of brain cancer may lead you to believe that your cellphone is safe. After all, when 91 percent of the adult population of the U.S. carries a cellphone4 and less than 0.02 percent5 develop a brain tumor, it may appear that using a cellphone is benign.
However, the primary pathology behind cellphone damage is not related specifically to brain tumors, or even to cancer. Instead, the real danger lies in damage from the reactive nitrogen species peroxynitrites. Increased peroxynitrites from cellphone exposure will damage your mitochondria.
The Debate Over Brain Tumors and Cellphone Exposure Continues
An Italian court recently weighed in on the debate over cellphone use and the development of brain tumors when they found in favor of a longtime telecommunication employee, Roberto Romeo, who claimed a benign brain tumor resulted in hearing loss in one ear.6 Interestingly, both Romeo7 and his attorney made reference to inappropriate use of a cellphone that led to the development of the tumor. Romeo reportedly used his cellphone for three hours a day over 15 years while doing his job for the mobile phone company.
This is not the first time the Italian court found in favor of a plaintiff claiming cellphone use triggered a brain tumor.8 In 2012, the Italian Supreme Court upheld a ruling linking an executive's cellphone use to a tumor on the same side of his head he held his cellphone five to six hours a day for over 12 years.9
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long held to the safety of cellphone use, as has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Environmental Health Science and the National Cancer Institute.10 The consensus appears to be:11
"The majority of studies published have failed to show an association between exposure to radiofrequency (RF) from a cellphone and health problems."
SAR Rating Has Little to Do With Safety
Cellphone companies, on the other hand, appear to believe there is some danger, warning users to keep the phone at least 1 inch from your body, and to minimize the amount of time you spend with the phone up to your ear. The warning is usually found in tiny print in the manual or deep inside the legal section of your phone.12
The biologic reality, however, is far worse. Keeping the phone 1 inch away from your skull will have a relatively modest reduction in exposure. You need to move it 2 TO 3 FEET (around 1 meter) away from your head to reduce the exposure by over 90 percent, as I show in the above video.
The FCC13 developed specific absorption rates (SAR) that set "safe" exposure limits for the radiation emitted from cellphones. The maximum, determined by lab testing 20 years ago based on a 200-pound man, was determined to be 1.6 watts per kilogram.14
SAR information is published on the cellphone manufacturer's website or, using the FCC ID number of the phone, on the FCC database.15 The American Academy of Pediatrics warns these standards do not account for the unique use pattern and development fragility of children and should be revised.16
Please understand that the SAR information is virtually useless, as it seeks to measure thermal (heat) damage, and that is not the source of the pathology. It is the damage to your mitochondria from peroxynitrite and other factors that is the problem.
Physicians from Yale and Harvard also warn pregnant women to limit their exposure to cellphones to reduce the impact RF radiation may have on their child's developing neurological system.17 The CTIA, the association representing U.S. wireless communications industry, has a different view, saying:18
"CTIA and the wireless industry defer to the scientific community when it comes to cellphones and health effects. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk for adults or children."
Not All Radiation Is Created Equally
There are two general categories of EMF radiation — native (natural) and non-native (artificial). Native radiation comes from natural sources of energy, such as the sun, and is actually is healthy for you. Artificial or non-native EMF can be broken down into four different categories, one of which is important to cellphone users.
The first is magnetic, involving the interaction of a charge with a magnetic field.19 The second is electromagnetic interference (EMI, commonly referred to in layman's terms as "dirty electricity").20 It appears EMI has the ability to increase mitochondrial free radical damage and contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction. The third is artificial light, such as LED or fluorescent lighting that contributes to a decrease in melatonin at night, affecting your sleep and mitochondria.
The type of EMF your cellphone, microwave and Wi-Fi emit is in the microwave megahertz to less than 10 gigahertz range. Your microwave oven is not a significant factor as your exposure is typically intermittent and not usually close to your body. Other devices, however, consistently emit microwave radiation at levels that damage your mitochondria.
Devices include your portable phone, cellphone, cellphone towers and Wi-Fi router and modem. Radiation is categorized across a spectrum from high-frequency to low-frequency.21 X-rays or gamma rays fall into the category of high-frequency, also called ionizing radiation.
This means they have enough non-native energy to cause the production of reactive nitrogen species like peroxynitrite that remove an electron and damage the DNA inside your mitochondria and the nucleus of your cells. Increased peroxynitrite generation has also been associated with increased levels of systemic inflammation by triggering cytokine storms, autonomic hormonal dysfunction and, of course most importantly, mitochondrial dysfunction.
Remember, microwave radiation exposure does not directly break covalent bonds and damage your DNA in the way that ionizing radiation from X or gamma rays do. Please reread the previous three paragraphs a few times as virtually no health professional understands or is teaching this. I can assure you this is vital leading-edge information that if properly applied will have enormous beneficial impacts on your health.
Failure to integrate this into your health program will seriously impair your body's ability to remove toxins and significantly impair your immune response to address the large variety of pathogenic infectious assaults you regularly encounter, especially parasites.
Recent Study Finds Association Between Radiofrequency and Cell Damage
In a recent $30 million study undertaken by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP),22 David McCormick, Ph.D., from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, used an animal model to evaluate the effects of prolonged RF radiation exposure in mammals.23 He discusses the results in the video.
After exposure for nine hours a day for two years, the researchers found a statistically significant increase in the number of health problems and brain tumors in the rats.24 While you may think the number of hours of exposure is high, it approximates the number of hours Americans are using their phones.
According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of adults say their phone is frequently with them and rarely turned off.25 Americans are so attached to their smartphones and social networks that they check Facebook and Twitter an astounding 17 times each day on average, increasing exposure with data or Wi-Fi enabled.26 Please, do NOT fall into this trap. Keep your phone in airplane mode unless you are using it.
Airplane mode will not eliminate your exposure but will radically reduce it. I carry my phone with me on my beach walks and in addition to being in airplane mode I put it in a faraday bag that stops virtually all radiation. McCormick commented on the results of the study, in which they found cellphone radiation in the laboratory caused cancer in mice and rats:27
"What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related."
Who Is Using Cellphones?
McCormick believes the result of damage from cellphone radiation may not be fully realized for another 10 or 15 years as a major portion of the population has been using this technology for only about 15 years. While that may seem like a long time, it may take even more years before damage is acknowledged.
The largest danger to the population exists with children who use their phones more frequently and for longer periods of time each day than adults, starting from the time they're very young. The average age a child receives their first smartphone is just over 10 years,28 and half of children under 10 already have a smartphone.29
Children in the U.K. spend four hours or more each day on their mobile phones, with that number increasing over school breaks by up to two hours a day.30 American students spend close to double that time, with teens using media nine hours a day31 and college students up to 10 hours each day.32
Dr. Jonathan Samet, a pulmonary physician and epidemiologist at the University of Southern California, supervised the report from the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer that classified cellphones as possibly carcinogenic to humans (class 2B).33 He comments:34
"Pretty soon, the whole world's population will be exposed to radiation from devices from an early age. It's something that should be taken very seriously, and we should be doing our best to understand if there's any risk."
A group of 255 scientists from across the world, including Columbia University, Harvard and the University of Southern California, wrote a letter to WHO about their concerns regarding the pervasive exposure to electromagnetic fields and the organizations response, writing:35
"By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfill its role as the pre-eminent international public health agency. The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of (electromagnetic fields)."
MASSIVE Increase in Your Exposure to This Non-Native EMF
According the WHO, the average background radiation worldwide in 2000 was less than 1 microwatt per centimeter squared. I realize most of you are not familiar with this measurement but it is the standard energy measurement for microwave radiation in the U.S. The important point is that it was LESS THAN 1 microwatt per centimeter squared literally 17 years ago. As I show in the video above, it can go to well over 100 times that. I have done many measurements since I shot this video to find it rise well over 500 times higher.
This is why it is so important to keep your phone in airplane mode when you aren't using it. But it is not only your phone; it is also your Wi-Fi router that can easily push levels over 500 to 1,000 microwatts per centimeter squared. So, ideally, you will want to keep your Wi-Fi off whenever possible, and certainly at night. The concern about this massive and relatively recent increase in this EMF exposure is largely related to its ability to generate peroxynitrite, which I discuss in more detail in the next section.
Peroxynitrite at the Heart of Cellphone Damage
Peroxynitrite is an unstable structural ion produced in your body after nitric oxide is exposed to superoxide. This complex chemical process begins with exposure to low-frequency microwave radiation from your cellphone, Wi-Fi and cellphone towers.
The process begins when low-frequency microwave radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC), producing calcium inside your cells and mitochondria.36 Nitic oxide is dependent on the presence of calcium to activate. With additional calcium present, nitric oxide is then activated in the cells.37
Nitric oxide is a substance present in all vertebrates, and helps to control blood flow, neural activity and clotting.38 While it has many health benefits, it can become destructive when superoxide molecules, an ionized oxygen molecule, is released during pathological change, such as a stroke or muscle injury.39
This reaction between nitric oxide and superoxide produces peroxynitrites, believed to be one root cause for many of today's chronic diseases.40 Nitric oxide is the only molecule in your body produced at high enough concentrations to outcompete other molecules for superoxide and is a precursor for peroxynitrite.41
Peroxynitrite in Your Body
Once formed, peroxynitrite reacts relatively slowly with biological molecules, making it a selective oxidant. Inside your body, peroxynitrites modify tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine and nitration of a structural protein.42
These changes from nitration are visible in human biopsies of atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and septic lung disease.43 Significant oxidative stress from peroxynitrites may also result in single-strand breaks of DNA.44
This pathway of oxidative destruction triggered by low-frequency radiation emitted from mobile devices may partially explain the unprecedented growth rate of chronic disease since 1990.45 This, truly, is a FAR greater concern than brain tumors, when it comes to the hazards of cellphones.
Information from the scientific literature reveals a dramatic acceleration in a single generation in the prevalence of a long list of diseases. Once you understand that cellphones can contribute to these chronic diseases — not just brain tumors — you may be more apt to take a few precautions to limit your exposure.
Although the major health threats continue to be cardiovascular disease, cancer and infections, it should be noted that the following list of conditions often create significant challenges in the lives of those who suffer. Some of these diseases were not even public knowledge prior to 1980.46
|Disease or disorder||Increase since 1990|
Disease or disorder: Chronic fatigue syndrome
Increase since 1990: 11,027 percent
Disease or disorder: Bipolar disease in youth
Increase since 1990: 10,833 percent
Disease or disorder: Fibromyalgia
Increase since 1990: 7,727 percent
Disease or disorder: Autism
Increase since 1990: 2,094 percent
Disease or disorder: Celiac disease
Increase since 1990: 1,111 percent
Disease or disorder: ADHD
Increase since 1990: 819 percent
Disease or disorder: Lupus
Increase since 1990: 787 percent
Disease or disorder: Hypothyroidism
Increase since 1990: 702 percent
Disease or disorder: Osteoarthritis
Increase since 1990: 449 percent
Disease or disorder: Sleep Apnea
Increase since 1990: 430 percent
Disease or disorder: Diabetes
Increase since 1990: 305 percent
Disease or disorder: Alzheimer's disease
Increase since 1990: 299 percent
Disease or disorder: Depression
Increase since 1990: 280 percent
Protect Yourself and Your Family From Long-Term Health Damage
While cellphone use is ubiquitous, and there's no turning back now, there are strategies you can use to protect yourself from RF radiation emitted from these devices. Remember, your cellphone, portable phone, Wi-Fi router and modem are the primary devices in your home emitting microwave radiation consistently.
To protect yourself and your family, get in the habit of using these strategies regularly. Cell damage builds over time. It may feel safe to use your devices as you always have since you don't experience the health effects immediately, but it definitely is not.
• Keep the phone away from your head
Consider moving your cellphone away from your head when it's turned on or the Wi-Fi, data or Bluetooth are enabled. You may do this by using a selfie-stick, speaking on the speaker phone or using a headset. Short conversations and texting more than talking also reduce your exposure.
• Increase your distance from RF-emitting devices
The closer the device, the more radiation you absorb. Find a way to transport your phone other than you pants pocket or bra, and avoid keeping your phone and tablets in your bedroom while you're sleeping.
• Turn off your Wi-Fi routers
When they aren't in use, such as at night, turn your Wi-Fi, modem and cellphone off. Many routers can be linked with an inexpensive remote, making the process simple and easy.
• Spices may reduce damage
Researchers have discovered certain spices may help prevent or repair damage from peroxynitrites.47,48 Spices rich in phenolics, specifically cloves, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger root exhibited some protective capacity against peroxynitrite-induced damage.
However, while this is good news, it is not a reason to ignore strategies that reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation, since your home is not the only place you are at risk. Any public venue that hosts Wi-Fi or has a cellular tower nearby increases your exposure to microwave radiation.
Some of the most important steps I cannot report on yet as I am in the process of evaluating shielding EMF remediation strategies, such as Faraday canopies for beds and EMF-shielding paint. Once I complete my analysis I will report on it. One thing I am certain of, though, is that the hundreds, or more likely thousands, of devices that you can attach to your phone do nothing to reduce this radiation exposure. They fail miserably in blocking this energy.
They may have some biological benefit in mediating the way this energy interacts with your body, but I would not delude myself into believing this is sufficient and fail to adopt the proactive protective measures described above.