Tag: Cell Phone Radiation

Is It Safe to Use Cellphones?

Is It Safe to Use CellphonesThis is a re-post of an article, which we felt would be interesting to many readers.  Is It Safe to Use Cellphones? Bottom line is, manage and limit your use of cell phones until the experts finally can come to a conclusion. Remember they said that cigarettes would not cause cancer and now it is a proven fact! Everyone is protecting their positions and avoiding admitting any obligation because of the money involved.

Is It Safe to Use Cellphones?

OTTAWA-Devra Davis recalls the moment six years ago when the seeds of her cellphone safety campaign were laid.

She was visiting her son and daughter-in-law, enjoying the sight of her grandson crawling on the floor. At one point he encountered a cellphone, reached for it and put it to his head. For most people such precocious conduct would earn an indulgent smile.

Davis, however, “shrieked, ‘no, no.’ My daughter-in-law looked at me like I’d lost my mind and asked what was the problem. I explained that you don’t want a microwave-emitting device next to a child’s brain.”

The shriek — perhaps an overreaction — was based on the American epidemiologist and toxicologist’s growing knowledge of the dangers of cellphone radiation.

That awareness has in recent years made Davis one of the foremost critics of the phone-making industry.

She believes cellphone radiation is a pending public health crisis that, if not checked, will see a surge in brain cancers within the next decade.

“I am deeply concerned about the experiment we are conducting on our children and grandchildren,” says the author of Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family. “People are putting iPhones that play white noise under the pillows of babies to help them sleep. iPhones and babies are a horrifying combination.”

Davis, who worked for many years at the United States National Academy for Sciences, where she founded the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, and, more recently, was director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute, will be in Ottawa today to give a public lecture on the effects of cellphones on the human brain, male fertility and, arguably, cognitive function.

The lecture, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Congregation Machzikei Hadas synagogue on Virginia Drive, is jointly sponsored by Prevent Cancer Now and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Davis, who has established the Environmental Health Trust, a non-profit organization that researches public health issues, acknowledges that cellphones already come with warnings that say users shouldn’t hold them on their bodies or next to their heads. But she points out that those warnings are buried deep in the fine print and, besides, people only find the warning after they’ve purchased the gadget.

What’s needed, says Davis, is legislation requiring advisory labels on cellphones and in stores warning about the effects of long-term radiation exposure.

Coincidently, New Democratic MPP France Gélinas early this month proposed exactly that in a private member’s bill in the Ontario legislature. The would-be legislation flies in the face of claims by Health Canada, which sets the standards on cellphone safety, that Canadians need have no concerns about using the instrument.

Health Canada bureaucrats know not what they do, says Davis. “The whole area is a complex one of science and engineering, and most people, including physicians, politicians and those who set the standards, are ignorant about it. Yet they make recommendations about how to deal with this issue.”

To be sure, Davis admits that “the majority of human studies of cellphones and brain cancer find nothing.” But that, she says, is largely because of the limitations of studies themselves.

Brain cancer can take 40 years to develop after the first exposure to radiation, Davis says. All of the human studies of which she’s aware, including the Interphone study done a few years ago by the World Health Organization, only collected data on people who’d developed brain tumours between 2002 and 2004. It also defined a cellphone user as someone who made one call a week for six months. Even so, the WHO study concluded someone who used a cellphone for half-an-hour every day for 10 years had double the risk of developing giloma, a form of tumour that grows on the side of the head where the cellphone is commonly placed.

Davis argues that such assumptions about cellphone use are clearly inadequate considering the ubiquity of the gadget and the fact that many people, including children and teenagers, use their cellphones every day for hours on end.

A cellphone is basically a two-wave microwave radio that operates at the same frequency as a microwave oven. Digital signals are sent and received by antennas of the backs of the instruments. Nowadays, most everyone is exposed to cellphone radiation; worldwide cellphone subscriptions are in the five billion range.

Davis is particularly concerned about children’s use of cellphones. The depth of cellphone radiation penetration into the brain largely depends on the age and health of the person. Children are more vulnerable than adults because their skulls are thinner, allowing digital signals to penetrate deeper. They also have more fluid in the brains; the more fluid the easier the transmission of microwave radiation.

But, as Davis points out, industry safety standards for cellphones are based now obsolete analog phones used about six minutes at a time by a user who was assumed to by a six-foot-two-inch man weighing some 200 pounds and with an 11-pound head — not toddlers or tweens, who, as it seems, are perpetually attached to their gadgets and, hence, to constant low doses of microwave radiation.

Microwaves were long thought to be benign since as a type of non-ionizing radiation they weren’t sufficiently strong to removed electrons from atoms. Nevertheless, recent experiments suggest microwaves can do damage at the cellular level.

“We now know that cellphone signals can damage sperm,” says Davis. “Studies have been done on sperm taken from healthy men and when sperm is exposed to cellphone radiation it dies three to four times faster than if it hasn’t been exposed.”

Similarly, studies on rats suggest a connection between exposure to cellphone radiation and mental functioning. Rats trained to find their way through a maze to a food source suddenly lose this ability — “they can’t find their way back to the food,” as Davis puts it — after prolonged exposure to cellphone radiation. That, she says, suggests their memory was affected by the radiation.

All this leads Davis to worry that unless people are better informed about the hazards of cellphone use, and start to take precautions with the gadget — everything from using hands-freeing to keeping it away from you body by storing it in backpacks or purse — they may well pay a steep price later in life. Already, she says, “we are seeing cases of young men with brain tumours now showing up who have used cellphones exclusively for 10 or 15 years.”

And if nothing is done? “I fear we are watching an epidemic in slow motion.”

Dr. Devra Davis’s cellphone dos and don’ts

  • When talking try to keep your cellphone away from your body as much as possible. Store it in a backpack, purse or satchel.
  • Use a speaker phone or a wired headset (but don’t make the mistake of having the phone on your body, which defeats the point of using the headset).
  • If you must carry it on your belt, turn the keypad toward your body so the antenna, in the back of the gadget, faces away from you, thus lessening the radiation dosage you receive.
  • Keep your cellphone away from you when you sleep. Don’t place it next to the bed or under the pillow.
  • When you don’t need it, turn it off, or at least place in airplane mode.
  • Pregnant women should avoid having a cellphone near their abdomen.
  • Encourage children to text rather than talk on a cellphone. In any case, children should only use a cellphone next to their heads in emergencies.
  • Don’t use a cellphone for conversations lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Switch sides in which you use a cellphone to spread out your exposure.

For more details and thoughts about cell phone safety, click here.

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Cell Phone Radiation Concerns

Cell Phone Radiation ConcernsMuch has been written about the potential impact of radiation from cell phones. This includes the impact it may have on your health. The concerns range from cancer to overall health impacts if you use your cell phone too much.  We thought we would take a different approach to dealing with the issue. We follow a philosophy that is common to many issues.

Too much of a good thing can be harmful to your health. This applies to foods, the sun, and tobacco and on and on. Cell phones and their use may or may not impact us negatively, but why take the chance.  We all know people who are practically glued to their cell phones all of their working day or perhaps they are wearing the new blue tooth devices which fit into their ears. Even these devices which provide hands free service and are much safer to use compared to holding your cell phone while driving a car, also contribute some radiation.

Cell Phone Radiation Concerns

If you need to use your cell phone for work and use it a lot, you could be susceptible to potential health problems. If you are a teen and love to talk on the phone you could also be susceptible to a potential health issue.  We know that you cannot just stop using your phone. They have become a necessary part of our lives and we cannot live without them. So what are we to do if we are also concerned about our health?

Common Sense Approach

The common Sense approach is just that. Let’s face it we are never really going to find out if cell phones are harmful. Look at the tobacco industry. It took over 50 years for people to realize the impacts on their health. It may or may not be the same for cell phones, but why take the chance.

So let’s assume that they are harmful or will be harmful to our health over a long period of time.  If you knew this to be true what would you change how you use your cell phone?  Maybe. Would you stop using your phone? Not likely! Would you use your phone less? Perhaps for a while, but then you would fall back into your old habits.

What is needed is a few ideas that you can use to control not only how much you use your phone but where you place your phone to decrease the amount of radiation that is absorbed by your brain. If we apply this approach, we think that you can dramatically decrease the radiation that you are exposed to. Remember that we really do not care if the radiation is harmful or not, we just do not want to find out ten years from now that all of the experts were wrong and pay for it with a brain tumor etc.

A Few Basic Facts About Cell Phones

A few basic facts about cell phones will help us understand what we can do to help ourselves. All phones are engineered to not go beyond a preset level of radiation as determined by the industry and the government. So there is a maximum power level they cannot go beyond. This is supposed to be a healthy level that will not adversely affect us.

As you go further away from a cellular tower, the phone must radiate more power to maintain a telephone call or a data connection. The closer you are to the tower, the lower the power level will be.

The radiation emanating from the phones and penetrating your brain decreases by the square of the distance from your head. This is very important in managing the radiation levels that you are exposed to, as are all of the other facts that are mentioned in this section.

The message is to find ways to decrease the amount of radiation you are exposed to without having to use your phone less than you are, since it has become an important tool in your life.

What can you do?

In listing the following ideas, we recognize that not all are practical for all situations or people in their daily work activities. Select those that make sense for you in your situation!

  • Use hands free wherever possible including both an ear bud with a wire attached to your phone as well as Bluetooth devices
  • For long calls, switch to a land line so that you can get away from the radiation all together
  • Even for relatively short calls it may be appropriate to switch to a traditional telephone
  • Use your phones speaker phone in appropriate places so that you do not have to hold the phone to your ear
  • If your cell phones battery feels warm you have probably been talking too long.
  • Use a phone that is rated as having a lower emission level, check the FCC website.
  • If you are mobile and use your phone a lot, try to locate a nearby cellular tower and stop and finish your call parked close to a cellular tower. Remember you should not be driving while using your phone anyway. Switch to hands free mode
  • Even if you hold your phone one inch away from your head you are decreasing the radiation that penetrates to your brain. Most people will still be able to hear the person on the other end quite easily with the phone held away from your ear.

Summary

These are a few basic steps you can take to manage and decrease the radiation penetrating your brain. Following them and getting into the habit of using your cell phone in this manner will not limit your flexibility and efficiency, but it will decrease the probability of being damaged by this radiation. Remember we are not saying that the cell phone will cause health issues, we are just saying that why do you want to take the chance?  Cell phones have really not been around long enough for anyone to know and some people might be more susceptible than others. Who really knows?  Follow some or all of the above suggestions to decrease the radiation that penetrates your brain. Why wait for the experts to finally know, take matters into your own hands.

If you know of other ideas, please feel free to add them in our comments section!

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