Risks of Cellphones and ELF Radiation
On Cellphones, Brain Activity, Tumors, and More
© Copyright 2007 by Timothy Conway, PhD,
You may have read the story-- circulated for years on the Internet --of two guys hardboiling an egg with their two cellphones. It is now known to be a hoax, an "urban myth." A cellphone is not actually "slow cooking" your brain like it's food in a microwave oven.
Yet the fact remains that cellphones do put out strange waves of electromagnetic energy, specifically known as "radio frequency modulated electromagnetic fields" (RF-EMF), very similar to the harmful oscillating energy fields known as ELF (extra-low frequency) that are emitted as radiation by most plug-in appliances, from TVs to electric blankets to hairdryers to microwave ovens.
As Science News reported in an issue from Feb. 22, 2003: "Digital cell phones send out compressed information through microwave pulses of electromagnetic radiation. In the United States, standard phones emit 50 such pulses per second, while so-called GSM phones—which operate under the international standard called Global System for Mobile Communications—emit 217. Those pulses scatter low-level microwave radiation across the brain."
For more background on EMFs, I highly recommend that one read Dr. Robert Becker's Cross Currents: The Perils of Electropollution and the Promise of Electromedicine, which is still quite timely, despite its 1990 publication date. Becker, incidentally, is the genius who first discovered--contra mainstream biology--that the human organism is not merely biochemical protoplasm but also possesses electromagnetic fields as part of its basic makeup (see his earlier landmark book, The Body Electric). And, as we’ll see, there are more recent books specifically addressing the potential harm of excessive cell-phone use.
It is CW--"Conventional Wisdom"--known by practically everyone, that it is UNHEALTHY to sit too close to a TV set for long periods of time, or too close to an older kind of VDT computer screen (the newer LCD screens are quite safe), because they put out these strange EMFs or electromagnetic fields. The same radiation-detecting device used to measure those fields emitting from a TV or VDT or microwave oven or other appliance shows that cellphones with their RF-EMF radiation put out intense energy-fields similar to those appliances. I know. I've measured them with a gaussmeter.
Here below is what i wrote to someone who emailed me, concerned about the earpiece on a cellphone.
I have a small gaussmeter, and i've used it to gauge the intensity of radiation and the safe drop-off distance on a wide variety of devices and appliances. I first got it when i heard that most buildings have "hot spots" where electrical wiring connects with the building. So, for instance, one would not want to be sleeping in a bed with the head positioned next to the wall where the incoming electricity joins the house. I've used this gaussmeter on various tvs, computers/VDT screens, hairdryers, etc., including microwaves and cellphones.
And yes, those darn little earpieces connected to the cellphones also light up in the brightest red ("danger") zone when the phone is on and when one is using the earpiece.
I'm willing to risk a little exposure to EMFs on a daily basis. For instance, i use an electric hairdryer to blowdry my hair, and there is some exposure to EMFs just by holding the thing in my hand and having it about 10-15 inches from my head for a minute or less. And i might occasionally get close to a TV screen while i'm toggling or adjusting controls.
I also might have occasion to wander near a microwave for a number of seconds when it's cooking something in our home.
There's no need to go into a worried, "paranoid" state of emotional aversion when exposed to such things for short periods of time. Getting into a negative emotional state when in the presence of EMFs or RF-EMFs will no doubt cause much more "harm" to the organism (from what we know of psycho-neuro-immunology or mind-body health) than the brief exposure to EMFs and RF-EMFs.
The thing about cellphones that is insidious--the same warning applies to electric blankets, incidentally--is that we have them so close to our bodies for such long, extended periods of time. Some teens are spending 2-3 hours a day or more on their cellphones-- apparently, this behavior is related to some perceived index of "popularity." In the case of teens this is especially dangerous, because their vulnerable brains are still growing, still forming lots of new neuronal connections--and the growth of such cellular structures is more vulnerable to being impaired, distorted or "scrambled" by the cellphone radiation or RF-EMF.
A big point to remember here--the conclusion of some of the studies that were published about extra-low-frequency (ELF) EMFs and cancer-incidence in the USA in the late 1980s and early 1990s--is not that EMFs or RF-EMF "cause" cancer, but that such strange energy fields tend to promote or amplify already aberrant cell/tissue conditions. And most of us have been so stressed by modern life (think: free radicals in the organism) and so slowly poisoned by the 80,000 chemicals dumped into our foodchain, water, and air over the last 70 years by the big chemical companies, that adding harmful ELF-EMFs and RF-EMFs to the mix is a recipe for ill-health.
SO: the bottom line here is relax, be well and live well as a good, virtuous human being, remember the One Divine Spirit, let go of worry and obsessive-compulsiveness (and any other "dis-eases"), and try to not let one's environment and/or lifestyle get too polluted. You can start by using the "speaker" function on your cellphone whenever possible and keeping that thing at least one foot (12 inches) away from you when you're gabbing on it for several minutes or hours.
Hope this helps!
Here below are several articles and news items on the topic.
Be aware that some “scientific studies” (most of them paid for by the telecommunications firms themselves) have shown cellphones to be “not dangerous." Realize that there were studies in the 1950s and 1960s telling us that cigarette smoking was not a dangerous activity, either!
Serendipitously, the very next day after I uploaded this webpage to our website, the Los Angeles Times on Monday, June 30, 2008, in its weekly "Health Section" ran a front-page article by longtime staff-writer Shari Roan entitled, "With tumor risk unproven, some err on side of caution." The article contains the following relevant passage:
"The National Academy of Sciences released a report in January calling for more research on cellphones and health risks. The authors concluded that many of the past studies were not conducted over a long-enough period of time to assess the risk of brain cancer, which typically develops slowly. Nor have the studies examined the effects of cellphone use on children, whose nervous systems are still developing, or on whether the radio frequency emissions can cause other types of health problems, such as cancers elsewhere in the body or central nervous system damage that may affect learning or behavior, says Dr. Leeka Kheifets, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA's School of Public Health, who was a member of the NAS panel.... 'We have not looked at all kinds of health outcomes yet.'... Kheifets and researchers in Denmark recently examined cellphone use in children and found 'unexpected results.'... The study found that children who used cellphones, and whose mothers used cellphones during pregnancy, were 80% more likely to have behavioral problems such as emotional symptoms, inattention, hyperactivity, and problems with peers compared with children who had no cellphone exposure as fetuses or in early childhood. Children whose mothers used cellphones during pregnancy but who had no other cellphone exposure were 54% more likely to have behavioral problems. The study, which will be published next month in the journal Epidemiology, is the first to find a behavioral effect [not just a bodily health impact]." (p. F5)
The L.A. Times article was accompanied by a sidebar with these warnings: "Use cellphones for shorter conversations or when a conventional phone is not available. Switch to a type of cellphone with a hands-free device that will place more distance between the antenna and the user. The antenna emits the radio-frequency waves. Placing a phone next to the head exposes the brain to this radiation.... Limit children's cellphone use.... In the car, use an external antenna mounted outside of the vehicle.... Keep the [cell]phone away from your body when it's turned on. For example, don't clip it to your belt. Be wary of cellpone products that claim to be radio-frequency shields. They may not work as advertised. The Federal Communications Commission [FCC] requires cellphone makers to report the amount of radio-frequency energy absorbed from the phone into the user's tissues. This number is called the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR. Cellphones may vary in their SAR value but cannot exceed 1.6 watts per kilogram [2.2 lbs.] of body weight. Check your phone's SAR value at the FCC website: www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety."
Cellphone radiation alters skin proteins: report
By the Associated Press
Tues. Feb. 12, 2008
HELSINKI, Finland — Research in Finland indicates that protein in human cells is altered when subjected to cellphone radiation, but the health effects of such radiation remain unclear.
The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority subjected a small area of skin on the forearms of 10 female volunteers to cellphone radiation — otherwise known as radio frequency modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) — for one hour.
The report found that biopsies from exposed skin showed alterations not seen in similar biopsies on non-exposed skin. Researcher Dariusz Leszczynski said “even if the changes are small, they still exist.”
But he said the study did not indicate any possible health hazards and was conducted to find out only if living human skin responds to cellphone radiation.
The study, published Monday in the online journal BMC Genomics, said that analysis of 580 proteins identified eight proteins that were affected.
The agency claimed it was the first study showing that “molecular level changes might take place in human volunteers in response to exposure to RF-EMF,” describing it as “globally unique.”
The agency said it plans a more extensive study in 2009, with 50 to 100 volunteers.
You Don't Deserve Brain Cancer--You Deserve Facts!
By Amy Worthington, email@example.com
January 20, 2003
Your cell phone is a microwave transmitter and it should bear a cancer warning! Microwave energy oscillates at millions to billions of cycles per second. The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry reports that these frequencies [promote] cancer and other diseases by interfering with cellular DNA and its repair mechanisms. Microwave promotes rapid cell aging. Italian scientists have recently demonstrated that cell phone radiation makes cancerous cells grow aggressively. Cordless phones marked 900 megahertz or 2.4 gigahertz emit the same dangerous microwave radiation as cell phones.
The connection between microwave exposure and cancer has been documented for years. During the Cold War, the Soviets irradiated the U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, with low level, twin-beam microwave radiation. Two successive ambassadors developed leukemia. Other staffers also developed cancer, or their blood showed DNA damage, which precedes cancer.
Research by Univ. of Washington professor Dr. Henry Lai shows brain cells are clearly damaged by microwave levels far below the U.S. government's "safety" guidelines. Dr. Lai notes that even tiny doses of radiofrequency can cumulate over time and lead to harmful effects. He warns that public exposure to radiation from wireless transmitters "should be limited to a minimal."
Motorola advises consumers to avoid pointing a cellular antenna toward exposed parts of the body. But independent tests show that cell phones can also leak huge amounts of radiation from the keypad and mouthpiece. This radiation deeply penetrates brain, ear and eye tissues, which are especially susceptible to microwave damage. Belt clip cases allow cell phones to deliver radiation to the liver or kidney areas when a wired, hands-free earpiece is used.
Recent studies confirm that cell and cordless phone microwave can:
*Cause headaches and induce extreme fatigue
*Cause memory loss and mental confusion
*Precipitate cataracts, retina damage and eye cancer
*Create burning sensation and rash on the skin
*Damage nerves in the scalp
*Induce ringing in the ears, impair sense of smell
*Create joint pain, muscle spasms and tremors
*Cause digestive problems and raise bad cholesterol levels
*Alter the brain's electrical activity during sleep
*Open the blood-brain barrier to viruses and toxins
*Cause blood cells to leak hemoglobin
*Reduce the number and efficiency of white blood cells
*Stimulate asthma by producing histamine in mast cells
*Stress the endocrine system, especially pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, testes
In 1993, the telecom industry committed $25 million dollars for a series of research projects designed to prove that cell phones are safe. The studies proved just the opposite! They proved that federal microwave exposure standards are dangerously inadequate. Cell damage and tumors can be easily induced in the lab at about one third of the FCC's exposure guidelines.
The telecom boys panicked. They and their lackey politicians and federal regulators decided the only lucrative thing to do was to LIE and DENY. Despite damning evidence, the FDA still prevaricates: "There is no reason to conclude that there are health risks posed by cell phones to consumers." Meantime, the telecom industry has been pressing to INCREASE BY MORE THAN 10 TIMES the allowable human exposure to cell phone radiation!
Luckily, Dr. George Carlo headed up the industry's study project. He presents the shocking facts in his book, Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insiders's Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage (Carroll & Graf, 2001). A summary of Dr. Carlo's book is this: Cell phones are hot, adequate protective regulations are naught, and Americans are being "fried" so that the deceitful telecom industry can rake it in! It's dirty business as usual, and the longer the industry can con the public, the more billions it collects.
On June 16, 2002, CBS aired a Sixty Minutes segment which confirmed the telecom industry is about as grungy as it gets. CBS producers accused major phone service providers of cheating, scamming, forging signatures, switching phone service without permission and lying about charges. The attorney general of Connecticut stated that despite millions of dollars in fines each year, these companies remain incorrigible. Should we be trusting this industry with our brain tissues and our very lives?
Microwave to the head is extremely hazardous to children. Parents in some European nations are now warned to keep children away from cell phones. A University of Utah researcher found the younger the child, the more radiation is absorbed by the brain. Spanish researchers have shown that cell phones can alter electrical activity of a child's brain for hours, causing drastic mood changes and possible behavior and learning disabilities. Scientists fear that cell phone radiation could damage human embryos. Pregnant women are advised to be wary.
A cell phone must greatly increase its field strength to maintain communications within the metallic cage of an auto. Thus, the effect of microwave radiation inside a vehicle is especially intense. Volkswagen of Europe has warned that cell phone usage inside a car can be "injurious to health due to the extremely high electromagnetic fields generated."
Insurance studies in England showed that an average driver talking on a cell is actually more impaired in function and reaction time than a drunk. Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority reports that one hour of exposure to mobile phone radiation can cause human cells to shrink. Researchers believe this is due to increased protein activity, an indicator of cell damage. What an unstable world needs now is a global population afflicted with incredible shrinking brains!
Brain cancer rates in USA have increased by 25% since 1975. In 2001, 185,000 Americans were diagnosed with some form of brain cancer. A grade four brain tumor can grow from the size of a grape to tennis ball size in just 4 months. Brain tumors are almost always fatal and most people die within 6-12 months after diagnosis. On April 7, 2002, Sixty Minutes aired a fascinating report on brain cancer, explaining that scientists are unsure why incidence of the disease is growing so exponentially. Ironically, the segment was followed by a Sprint ad, which advised parents that the best way to keep track of teenagers is to connect them to a cell phone. While researchers say that radical damage to the brain can occur within the first few minutes of conversation, telecom ads encourage customers to spend many hours on the phone each month. Those blazing, full-page cell phone ads in newspapers and magazines must be the reason cell phone dangers are almost never discussed in the mainstream media.
An excellent resource tool is Robert Kane's book Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette (Vantage Press, 2001). As a telecommunications expert, Kane presents an impressive collection of studies showing that both government agencies and cell phone manufacturers KNEW YEARS AGO that cell phone radiation at present exposure levels is dangerous to human health. He notes that cell phones would be rendered useless if their RF emissions were reduced to safe levels.
Reports of illness from heavy cell phone usage and from living or working close to powerful RF transmitters are synchronous with numerous cancer-related lawsuits now being filed against the cell phone industry. The insurance industry sees big trouble ahead. Underwriters for Lloyd's of London refuse to insure phone manufacturers against damage to users' health. Cell phones are today what tobacco was 40 years ago. While research and debate continues, cell phone users have three basic choices:
1. Continue heavy microwave bombardment of brain tissues until disastrous health effects become obvious and irreversible.
2. Reduce cell phone usage to under 2-3 minutes per day and never use the phone in a vehicle.
3. Obtain a hands-free speaker phone and keep it away from the body. Everyone in the room can hear your two-way conversation, but less privacy sure beats brain fog, blindness and cancer!
Excellent web sites offering up-to-date scientific data on microwave and other radiation issues are: (1) www.energyfields.org (2) www.microwavenews.com (3 ) www.emrnetwork.org (4) www.wave-guide.org . E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for free updates on important radiation issues and studies. Dr. Lai's e-mail is email@example.com .
Powerful microwave energy directed at homes, offices and schools can flow right through windows and walls. Microwave meters and mitigation devices are available at: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.trifield.com. A specialized RF [Radiation Field] meter (in the $300 range) is useful for avoiding some environmental exposure and for keeping the interior of your home safe. Turn your microwave meter on when you drive. You will discover that from coast to coast, Americans are being bombarded with communications radiation in the microwave spectrum, just like those unlucky embassy workers in Moscow who ended up so very sick. USA is having a real "blast" so to speak! And it is going to get worse as wireless technologies broaden.
It is in everyone's best interest to share the above information with the uninformed. Some people appear to have an almost pathological emotional attachment to their cell phones and there is a fascinating suggestion that cell radiation pulses might actually be addictive to the human brain. We can't save those who would rather die than switch. But ethics compelled us to ensure that all reasonable people have access to the basic scientific facts.
FDA Will Review Cell Phone-Cancer Link
April 9, 2006
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will review the health effects of wireless phones after a recent analysis of research suggested long-term use may be linked to a risk of brain cancer. The agency said it will hold a meeting to evaluate data on health risks associated with cordless and cell phones but didn't specify a date.
The FDA said a recently published analysis of two Swedish studies reported an increased risk of brain tumors linked to use of wireless phones over more than 10 years. The findings were inconsistent with earlier studies and difficult to interpret, the FDA said.
The Swedish study found that those who heavily used wireless phones had a 240 percent increased risk of a cancerous tumor on the side of the head where they used their phone. Researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life compared data from 2,200 cancer patients and an equal number of healthy patients.
"This is not a new study but is a combined analysis of two studies published in 2005 and 2003. Both the 2005 and 2003 studies were population based case control studies. Cases were recruited based on ... diagnoses submitted to regional cancer registries," the FDA said. Exposure assessment was conducted using mailed questionnaires with a few follow-up telephone interviews.
The FDA statement seems to indicate that it will, at last, address decade-long concerns that radio-frequency energy from wireless phones may have harmful effects on health, including brain tumors.
Last year, the wireless-device industry generated $113.5 billion of revenue as usage time exceeded 1.4 trillion minutes as the number of cell-phone users in the U.S. surged to 208 million last year from 340,213 in 1985, when wireless networks were first being built, according to CTIA - The Wireless Association, which insists there is no health risk from cell phones.
"When you objectively look at the enormous body of science that exists, you have to conclude that there is no evidence of adverse health effects," said Joe Farren, spokesman for CTIA, a wireless industry trade association. [??-- a dubious source!]
Wireless phones emit low levels of radio-frequency energy while in use and in stand-by mode. Radio-frequency energy can heat and damage body tissues. Despite industry assertions, there is uncertainty about the effects of frequency, intensity, proximity and duration of exposure.
An Editorial -- JRH
Cell Phones: Millennium Cigarettes?
June 29, 2000
"Reach for a Camel instead of a sweet," urged the magazine and billboard ads of a few decades ago. In the mid-20th Century, doctors routinely advised patients to take up smoking to aid in weight control. The notion that inhaling tobacco smoke could be harmful was regarded as alarmist, unfounded, almost superstitious.
After all, the big tobacco companies were good corporate citizens who wouldn't sell anything if they knew it was harmful -- and the government surely wouldn't permit the sale of tobacco unless it was known to be safe, right?
A few generations later, lung cancer, emphysema and smoking-related heart disease are among the top causes of death and disability and smoking is universally recognized as deadly. Our earlier refusal to admit this is today seen as lunacy. Meanwhile, Motorola, Nokia, AT&T, Sprint and other good corporate citizens are selling hundreds of thousands of cell phones -- highly compact ultra-high-frequency transceivers with antennas that just happen to be situated directly above the ear when the device is in use.
These good corporate citizens wouldn't do this unless they were sure the devices were safe, would they? And surely there are government agencies that regulate these devices to be sure they're safe, right?
Wrong. The safety of cell phones has not been demonstrated and, in fact, two industry-sponsored studies have raised early but disturbing evidence tying the devices to brain cancer. The Federal Communications Commission regulates cell phone emissions but only from the standpoint of preventing interference to other users.
Since the effects of exposure to carcinogens are generally cumulative over time, there is often a lag of two or more decades between the initial widespread use of a substance or device and the resulting morbidity and mortality.
In other words, we may today be "poisoning" a new generation of cancer victims -- young people now in their 20s and 30s who routinely spend several hours a day with a cell phone pressed against their head, emitting radio frequency energy into their brains at close range.
It may be 2020 or so before the epidemic emerges. And, of course, it may not happen at all.
But consider this: No other radio-frequency-emitting device has ever been used in this manner. Most transmitters are physically separated from their antennas, which is where the RF energy is emitted. Older "walkie-talkies" were larger and were held in front of the face, with the antenna often rising above the head, thus minimizing "cooking" of brain cells.
Can You Protect Yourself?
Some manufacturers are trying to cash in by selling "filters" that fit onto a cell phone and supposedly reduce emissions. This is not likely to be an effective remedy, since reducing emissions would also reduce usability of the devices. After all, "leakage" is not the problem. RF radiation is not being "leaked" from cables linking the transmitter to the antenna; it's coming right off the antenna, just as it's supposed to.
We are aware of no scientific evidence that demonstrates these devices do anything at all. At the least, they are a waste of a few dollars. At the worst, they may create a false sense of confidence in heavy cell phone users.
There's a very simple solution, an easy way to reduce what may eventually be recognized as a substantial health risk: a headpiece that allows you to place the cell phone (and, thus, its antenna) several feet away. These devices are simple and inexpensive. They work with nearly every popular model. You can buy them at Radio Shack or any similar store for about $20. No one yet knows how great the risk is. It may be very slight but then again it may not be. The headpiece is a prudent and modest safeguard that also makes life simpler by freeing both hands for taking notes, doodling or putting low-fat cream cheese on your morning bagel.
Supreme Court Clears Cell Phone Cancer Suits for Trial
November 1, 2005
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to throw out a number of class-action lawsuits that challenge radiation emissions from cell phones.
With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, the court refused to consider an appeal from cell phone manufacturers, who wanted the high court to overturn a decision by the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond.
Class-action lawsuits currently pending in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania allege that cell phone radiation can cause brain tumors. The suits allege the manufacturers are aware of the danger and have deliberately kept consumers in the dark.
The suits seek to force phone manufacturers to reduce the amount of radiation produced by phones, and to advise users of the alleged health hazards.
In 2004, Judge Catherine Blake dismissed five of the lawsuits. But in March the appeals court ruled 2-1 that four of the five cases must be sent back to lower courts for trial.
Motorola, Nokia, Nextel Communications, Sprint and Cingular Wireless are among defendants named in the lawsuits.
Neurologist Claims Cell Phones Caused His Brain Tumor
WASHINGTON, August 4, 2000 -- A Maryland neurologist has filed an $800 million lawsuit against Motorola, Bell Atlantic and others, charging that years of using a cellular phone has given him brain cancer.
Chris Newman, 41, cited a 1994 study on rats that showed breaks in DNA, a possible sign of future cancer, after the animals were exposed to radiation.
The malignant tumor was discovered in 1998 behind Newman's right ear. Attorney Joanne Suder said Newman used wireless hand-held phones several times a day from 1992 to March 1998, when the cancer was diagnosed.
The suit seeks $100 million in compensatory damages and $700 million in punitive damages.
"It's a really tough issue," said Robert Tufel of the National Brain Tumor Foundation. "We don't want to unduly alarm the public, but some of the information we have read is very compelling." The foundation recommends that people take precautions such as limiting phone time or using an ear piece [No, don't use an earpiece—see my letter above at the outset of this webpage] to put distance between themselves and the phone "until this is resolved," Tufel said.
To try and settle lingering questions, the FDA, with funding from the cell-phone industry, is planning new studies. But those results are not due for three to five years.
The debate started in 1993 when a Florida man alleged cell-phone use caused his wife's brain tumor. Since then, scientists have studied the effects of cell-phone radiation on animals and looked at brain-tumor rates in people who used cell phones.
Brain cancer strikes about six in every 100,000 people in the United States each year.
Study: Long-term cell use raises brain tumor risk
Reuters --Published on ZDNet News: March 31, 2006
The use of mobile phones over a long period of time can raise the risk for brain tumors, a new Swedish study said on Friday, contradicting the conclusions of other researchers.
The Dutch Health Council, in an overview of research from around the world, last year found no evidence radiation from mobile phones and TV towers was harmful. A four-year British survey released in January showed no link between regular, long-term use of cell phones and the most common type of tumor.
However, researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life said they looked at the mobile phone use of 905 people between the age of 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and found a link.
"A total 85 of these 905 cases were so-called high users of mobile phones, that is they began early to use mobile and/or wireless telephones and used them a lot," the study said.
"The study also shows that the rise in risk is noticeable for tumors on the side of the head where the phone was said to be used," it added.
Kjell Mild, who led the study, said the figures meant that heavy users of mobile phones, for instance of who make mobile phone calls for 2,000 hours or more in their life, had a 240 percent increased risk for a malignant tumor on the side of the head the phone is used.
"The way to get the risk down is to use hands-free," he told Reuters.
He said his study was the biggest yet to look at long-term users of the wireless phone, which has been around in Sweden in a portable form since 1984, longer than in many other countries.
Cell phone signals excite brain, study finds
Mon Jun 26, 2006
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian researchers reported on Monday.
Their study, published in the Annals of Neurology, adds to a growing body of research about mobile phones, their possible effects on the brain, and whether there is any link to cancer.
About 730 million cell phones are expected to be sold this year, according to industry estimates, and nearly 2 billion people around the world already use them.
Of these, more than 500 million use a type that emits electromagnetic fields known as Global System for Mobile communications or GSM radio phones. Their possible effects on the brain are controversial and not well understood.
Dr. Paolo Rossini of Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan and colleagues used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS to check brain function while people used these phones. They had 15 young male volunteers use a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. In 12 of the 15, the cells in the motor cortex adjacent to the cell phone showed excitability during phone use but returned to normal within an hour.
The cortex is the outside layer of the brain and the motor cortex is known as the "excitable area" because magnetic stimulation has been shown to cause a muscle twitch.
The researchers stressed that they had not shown that using a cell phone is bad for the brain in any way, but people with conditions such as epilepsy, linked with brain cell excitability, could potentially be affected.
"It should be argued that long-lasting and repeated exposure to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) linked with intense use of cellular phones in daily life might be harmful or beneficial in brain-diseased subjects," they wrote.
"Further studies are needed to better circumstantiate these conditions and to provide safe rules for the use of this increasingly more widespread device."
Medical studies on cell phone use have provided mixed results. Swedish researchers found last year that using cell phones over time can raise the risk of brain tumors. But a study by Japan's four mobile telephone operators found no evidence that radio waves from the phones harmed cells or DNA.
The Dutch Health Council analyzed several studies and found no evidence that radiation from mobile phones was harmful.
Researchers: Cell Phones Pose Cancer Risk for Kids
January 12, 2005
British researchers warn that cell phone use can produce brain tumors, and they're taking the additional step of warning parents that children under age eight should not use mobile phones. Their report says heavy use can lead to tumors in the brain and ears, and further states that up until now, the risk has largely been understated by most scientists.
Concerns about cell phone use triggering tumors are nothing new. In fact they are almost as old as the industry itself. But as mobile phones have become ubiquitous is modern culture world-wide, the level of concern is rising.
A study in the international journal Epidemiology in October last year found that people who have used cell phones for at least 10 years may have an increased risk of developing a rare brain tumor.
Professor Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), said the warnings are more serious now because the evidence of potentially harmful effects have become more persuasive over the last five years. He and his colleagues argue that four studies in particular have caused growing concern.
• A ten-year study in Sweden suggests that heavy mobile users are more prone to non-malignant tumours in the ear and brain.
• A Dutch study suggests heavy mobile phone use produces changes in cognitive function.
• A German study suggests living near a mobile telephone base station increases this risk of cancer.
• A project supported by the EU had shown evidence of cell damage from fields typical of those of mobile phones.
In the United States, the wireless industry supports further research but insists all available research says it's safe to use cell phones. The Cellular Communications and Internet Association carries several quotes to that effect on its Web site. However, the most recent is from a March 2002 study by the Food and Drug Administration that concludes "available scientific evidence does not show that any health problems are associated with using wireless phones."
Hold the Phone? Radiation from cell phones hurts rats' brains
Kendall Morgan, Science News, Feb. 22, 2003
A single 2-hour exposure to the microwaves emitted by some cell phones kills brain cells in rats, a group of Swedish researchers claims. If confirmed, the results would be the first to directly link cell-phone radiation to brain damage in any animal.
No such evidence exists for people. But with cell-phone use skyrocketing, some scientists recommend precautionary measures—for example, avoiding excessive gabbing on the phones.
Digital cell phones send out compressed information through microwave pulses of electromagnetic radiation. In the United States, standard phones emit 50 such pulses per second, while so-called GSM phones—which operate under the international standard called Global System for Mobile Communications—emit 217. Those pulses scatter low-level microwave radiation across the brain. To date, convincing evidence linking the phones to serious health problems, such as cancer, is lacking, says Leif G. Salford of Lund University Hospital in Sweden.
Even so, he and his colleagues are still looking for such connections. About 10 years ago, they showed that cell-phone radiation causes the protective barrier in rats' brains to leak, permitting blood proteins that are normally kept away from brain tissue to contact neurons.
Now, Salford's team reports in a forthcoming Environmental Health Perspectives that this breach of the so-called blood-brain barrier is accompanied by the death of brain cells. Adolescent rats were exposed for 2 hours to GSM phones at one of three power levels: 0.01, 0.1, or 1 watt (W). Rats in a control group were not exposed. Cell phones typically operate at a peak output power of 0.6 W.
Examination of the animals' brain tissue 50 days later revealed that up to 2 percent of the brain cells of rats that had received cell-phone radiation exposures of 0.1 watt or greater were dead or dying. The hippocampus, cortex, and brain stem suffered the most damage. The other groups showed no significant brain-cell death.
Salford cautions that the results may not apply to real-world cell-phone use. On the other hand, he notes, "there might be negative consequences in the long run."
Previous studies have shown a variety of biological effects of cell phone-type radiation, but no convincing evidence of health damage (SN: 6/29/02, p. 404:
sciencenews.org/20020629/fob3.asp; 5/20/00, p.326: Available to subscribers at http://sciencenews.org/20000520/fob5.asp; 2/12/00, p. 100: http://www.sciencenews.org/20000212/fob1.asp).
Henry C. Lai of the University of Washington in Seattle finds Salford's new results "quite intriguing." He says, "The energy absorbed by the rats was really low compared to what a person gets when using a cell phone." Particularly if the effects add up over time, Lai says, regular use of cell phones could be problematic.
And it's not just the phones. In the modern, wireless office, people are increasingly exposed to a "sea of microwaves," says neuroscientist W. Ross Adey of Loma Linda University in California. "You have to ask, How much can people handle before it becomes a significant problem?" he says.
For the record, Salford himself does use a cell phone. To limit his exposure, however, he cuts calls short and distances himself from the phone with a hands-free headset.
Study Finds No Cell Phone-Cancer Link in First Decade of Use
August 31, 2005
A long-term study finds that cell phones do not increase the risk of certain brain cancers during the first decade of use, though what happens beyond that is not yet known.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, focused on the risk of acoustic neuroma, benign tumors which grow in the nerve -- close to where handsets are held -- which connects the ear and inner ear to the brain. Researchers have investigated the possible association of other kinds of brain tumors with wireless phones but scientists said acoustic neuroma would be the most likely candidate.
"The results of our study suggest there is no substantial risk in the first decade after starting use," said Anthony Swerdlow of the British Institute of Cancer Research but emphasized he could not rule out higher risk over a longer period.
The study, said to be the largest to date, was conducted with 678 people with acoustic neuroma and 3,553 people who did not have the tumor. Participants were asked about their cell phone use, including length and frequency of calls, makes and models of phones used, and extent of hands-free use. Subjects also were asked to detail other factors that might affect their risk of acoustic neuroma.
The study found no relation between the risk of acoustic neuroma and the number of years for which mobile phones had been used or the total number of calls placed. It also found no difference between results when testing analog or digital phone use.
Previous independent studies have found that mobile phone radiation may have some effect on the human body, such as heating up the brain and causing headaches and nausea. But the cell phone industry argues there is no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic radiation causes harm.
One skeptic, Alisdair Philips of the British group Powerwatch, said it was too early for any definitive conclusions to be drawn from the study.
"It is only one type of brain cancer and we know that brain cancer is actually on the increase -- a very steady increase -- and we don't know why," he said.
The British government has adopted a "precautionary approach" to the possible adverse effects of mobile phones, despite their own researchers finding no direct link between use and ill-health. The Department of Health advises youngsters to keep mobile calls short and send text messages where possible.
About 780 million mobile phones are expected to be sold this year, they are used by nearly 2 billion people around the world. The institute's analysis pooled studies conducted in Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden -- all countries where mobile phones were introduced early and have been in widespread use for a decade or more.
Cell Phones - More Damning Evidence
Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter #66
May 6, 2007
"Neither radiofrequency (30kHz-300MHz) nor microwave fields (300-3000 MHz) exist as significant components of the natural terrestrial electromagnetic environment. In consequence, our human generation is the first to voluntarily expose itself to artificial RF/microwave fields that cover a wide spectrum of frequencies and intensities.
Typical mobile phones radiate an average power of 0.2-0.6 W. When hand-held and operated close to the head, background levels are sharply distorted, with 40 percent of radiated phone energy absorbed in the hand and the head ([Kuster et al., 1997]). In this mode of operation, a mobile phone may be regarded as a quite powerful radio transmitter. Its emission at the head surface is typically 10,000 times stronger than fields reaching the head of a user standing within 30m of the base of a typical mobile phone relay transponder mounted on a tower 30m above ground." W. Ross Adey, International Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.
What is the effect of the radiation? While industry sponsored studies have failed to show a clear link between cell phone usage and brain tumors (there are other effects which have been ignored by industry studies), independent scientific studies show that the radiation from hand held mobile phones do pose serious health risks and can increase the incidence of brain tumors. Microwave signals travel through human tissue, glass, metal and plastic. Human tissue also absorbs microwave radiation. The effect of even minute levels of microwave radiation have been shown to:
* open the blood-brain barrier
* heat head & brain tissue
* disrupt brain activity
* reverse cell membrane polarity
* alter brain waves
* alter brain chemistry
* damage DNA
The effects of the radiation can produce a wide range of physical symptoms. Some symptoms may take years to show up. Some of the effects can be short-term while other effects can be long-term or permanent. Opening the blood-brain barrier allows toxins into the brain that cause a wide range of ailments - many of which are currently unknown or poorly understood. Some symptoms of cell phone usage:
* memory loss
* mood swings (rage)
* loss of concentration
* lack of coordination
* pain in hands or arms
* sleep disorders
I you use a cell phone you could be at serious risk for delibitating and life threatening illness. Following are just a few of the studies that document the risks associated with exposure to the radiation from cell phones:
1. Tower Radiation Shown to Cause Headaches and Nausea
Three Dutch ministries recently conducted a study that found that the radiation from the next generation cell phone towers can cause headaches and nausea. The study is the first of its kind and compared the impact of radiation from base stations used for the current mobile telephone network with that of cell towers for new third generation (3G) networks. The study used lower a dose of radiation than cell phones. Hand held phones emit stronger radiation when they are used, while cell towers transmit more constant levels of radio signals, exposing everyone within range.
"If the test group was exposed to third generation base station signals there was a significant impact... They felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous," a spokeswoman for the Dutch Economics Ministry said.
2. Cell Phone Radiation Opens the Blood-Brain Barrier
A study headed by Leif Salford, Department of Neurosurgery at Lund University in Sweden and published in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests cell phone use can damage neurons in the brain. A number of studies have looked at potential links between cell phone use and cancer, most finding little or no effects. This study found that exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by certain phones was associated with the leakage of albumin through the blood-brain barrier and neuronal damage that increased in response to the amount of exposure. While the study sample was small, researchers said the combined results are "highly significant and exhibit a clear dose-response relation."
3. The Head Absorbs Radiation
Headaches, nausea, dizziness, short-term memory problems, fatigue, and other complaints resulting from cellular phone use are not due to low-level heating of the brain; instead, they're apparently caused by the head serving as an "antenna" and brain tissue as a radio receiver, according to two Jerusalem researchers. Zvi Weinberger, a physicist who heads the applied physics department at the Jerusalem College of Technology, and Dr. Elihu Richter, head of the occupational medicine unit at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health, suggested this in the latest issue of the journal Medical Hypotheses. Mobile phones, they explained, "broadcast specifically at frequencies at which the head serves as an antenna and brain tissue serves as a demodulating radio receiver." Thus, precaution must be taken in the use of cell phones, they wrote. --Jeruselem Post 12/02/02
4. Mobile Phone Signals Affect Brain Activity
A study reported in the Journal of Sleep Research (Blackwell Publishing) found that 30 minutes exposure to electromagnetic fields, as from GSM mobile phones, caused changes to brain activity which lasted long afterwards. Dr Peter Achermann and colleagues from the University of Zurich, and ITIS, in Zurich, found that blood flow increased in areas of the brain on the side nearest the phone, and that this effect lasted for over half an hour afterwards. They also discovered that the brain?s electrical activity (?brain waves?) was not only affected immediately after the exposure, but that this lasted through much of the subsequent night?s sleep.
5. Radiation From Cell Phones Can Make Cancer Grow Faster
"Italian scientists have raised new health concerns about the safety of using mobile phones, with research showing radio waves from the handsets makes cancerous cells grow more aggressively.." Reuters, 10/23/02
6. Cell Phone Radiation Can Cause Brain Tumors
An epidemiology study conducted by Dr. Lennart Hardell found a higher incidence of brain tumors on the sides of heads used by mobile-phone subscribers to make and receive calls. The study was published in the August, 2002 issue of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
The body of evidence showing the hazards of cell phones is more than sufficient to cause alarm, yet, public health organizations continue to stall while the cell phone industry builds more towers and makes Billions selling more phones. Just as the tobacco industry was able to hold back the truth regarding the health effects of smoking, the cell phone industry has prevented the truth about cell phone safety from reaching mass media. If you care about your health and the health of your family, take the time to educate yourself and have the courage to act on what you find.
What you can do to reduce your risk:
* Simply don't use a cell phone or stand close to someone who is. Humans have survived up to this point without them. We can continue to survive without them.
* If you must use a cell phone use it only in places with a strong signal. This allows the phone to transmit at low power (up to 100 times lower than its maximum value), reducing exposure accordingly.
* Minimize the length of calls.
* Extend the antenna and hold it away from the head. Hold the phone away from your head whenever possible.
* Use a hands-free kit with an external antenna and keep the phone away from your body.
* Do not use an earphone unless it is one made of fiber optic cable. Studies have shown that a metal earphone wire can act as an antenna and direct radiation into the head from the ear canal.
For more information visit:
The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive