Dr. Devra Davis spoke at Georgetown University Thursday about the disconnect between the data about the harmfulness of cell phone radiation and public opinion about its safety. Hence the name of her new book, Disconnect. Dr. Davis was the Founding Director of Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and has been an advocate of public health for several decades.
In her talk and her book Dr. Davis asserts that:
• Cell phone radiation damages DNA
• Long term use increases brain tumor risk, and the appearance of tumors is slow, so is as yet underestimated
• Users who start as teens have a 4 to 5 fold increase in malignant brain tumor development than those who don’t start so early
• Men who use cell phones 4 or more hours per day have half the sperm counts of men who do not
• And that health policy and regulatory standards are written by the trillion-dollar cell phone industry
While some studies identifying cell phone radiation as entirely safe have been talked about in the media recently, Dr. Davis asserts that these studies have mobile industry funding and study nonsensically limited usage. The famous Interphone Study, which she cites as an example, had an average cell phone use rate 2 hours per month — compared to an average of over 2 hours per week for U.S. users. More questionable still is their “exclusion of data from children and young adults, the exclusion of people who died from brain tumors as well as a limit to the type of tumors studied” said Lloyd Morgan a Senior Research Fellow at the Environment Health Trust at the Bioelectromagnetics Society’s 2010 annual meeting.
But Dr. Davis’ biggest concern is about children. With half of the world’s 4 billion cell phones used by people under 20, and the increased penetration of microwaves into children’s smaller, still-developing brains, she’s concerned we’re headed for an epidemic.
Microwaves? you say. Yes, cell phones operate in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum, close to the range used by microwave ovens. (Cell phones currently operate between 300 MHz and 2 GHz at a power of about 1-3 W, and microwaves typically operate at about 2.45 GHz at about 1kW power.) So a cell phone is a small, low-powered microwave transmitter that most users hold against their heads or at their hips (near the genitals). Considering that alone could give one pause.
So, considering that it’s likely cell phone radiation is harmful, what can you do to protect yourself and your children. You can check our The Environmental Health Trust, and you can also follow these safety suggestions:
• Don’t use a phone or text while driving or doing something that requires your attention!
• Use a landline when possible
• Text for short messages instead of calling — less exposure and less signal use
• Use a headset (but not a wireless one, because those use similar radiation)
• Don’t carry your phone on your body — leave it in your bag or at the far end of your desk when working
• Only use where the signal is strong — the cell phone will up its power to compensate for weak signal
• Leave it far from you when you’re sleeping, or better still, turn it off at night
• Don’t let your children use the cell phone, and keep it away from them — they are by far the most vulnerable
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