Secondhand Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation: An Emerging Public Health Problem?

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Many people are unaware that they are exposed to cell phone radiation when their cell phones are in standby mode. This occurs because their cell phone contacts the nearest cell tower periodically to update its location.

In a moving vehicle, cell phones in standby mode contact cell towers more frequently. Thus, exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s cell phone is greater in transit.

Two Swiss researchers, Damiano Urbinello and Martin Roosli, set out to measure personal cell phone radiation exposure during car, bus and train trips when one’s own phone was in standby mode.

Their study just published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology identified a source of cell phone radiation that may constitute a public health problem. Namely, secondhand exposure to cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones can be considerable while traveling on buses and trains (1).

During bus or train trips, individuals may be exposed to considerable amounts of cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones. Buses and railroad cars act like “”Faraday cages”” that reflect much of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones throughout the vehicles’ interiors. Thus, all passengers, including infants and pregnant women as well as those without cell phones, may be exposed to considerable levels of cell phone radiation emitted by others’ phones.

As for car trips, the results of the study suggest that exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s own phone in standby mode is relatively low compared to overall exposures during public transit. Nonetheless, those who are concerned about their exposure to cell phone radiation should turn off their phones during car trips, or at the very least, avoid using their phones for calls.

● “”The study indicates that own uplink exposure during car driving can be considerably reduced (about a fraction of 100) when turning off ones own mobile phone in order to prevent it from location updates.”” (1)

The researchers found that GSM, the 2G carrier system in Europe which is used in the U.S. for voice communication by AT&T and T-Mobile, is particularly problematic compared to UMTS, a 3G carrier system used for data transmission. The researchers did not test CDMA which in the U.S. is used by Verizon and Sprint for voice calls. Other research has found that GSM emits 13 to 28 times more radiation on average than CDMA during phone calls. No published studies have examined exposures from LTE, the 4G carrier system now in widespread use in this country.

● “”GSM levels in the reference scenario during bus and train rides were about 100 times higher than those during car rides. As a consequence of this high background exposure in trains, due to the use of other people’s mobile phone in a closed area intensified by the Faraday cage effect, the relative contribution of the location update from ones own mobile phone is small”” (1)

The study also reported that smart phones, including the iPhone 4 and the Blackberry Bold 8800, which can operate on four radiofrequency bands emit more radiation during standby mode than classic phones, like the Nokia 2600, which operate on two bands.

Earlier this year, a study was published that examined cell phones in standby mode while stationary. Kjell Mild and his colleagues from Sweden found that under these conditions cell phones contacted the cell towers only once every two to five hours. They concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation in this situation “”can be considered negligible.”” (2)

These studies should be replicated in the U.S. as well as in other countries since every cell phone carrier system operates differently.

In the meantime it is advisable to keep cell phone use in moving vehicles to a minimum as low level exposures to cell phone radiation have been associated with deleterious effects in humans.

To protect us from the health risks associated with cell phones and related devices (e.g., cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless Smart Meters and security systems, and cell towers), we need research independent of industry to develop biologically-based standards and safer technologies. A nickel a month from each cell phone subscription would suffice to fund a comprehensive program of research. Since the average cell phone subscription costs more than $47.00 per month, this tiny fee constitutes a prudent investment in our health and our children’s health.

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Pembroke Pines, FL: The New Battleground For Cell Phone Radiation

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We have been seeing a torrent of changes in the way that people, governments and legal bodies have been approaching the issue of cell phone radiation.

We recently reported a groundbreaking court case in Italy that ruled in favor of a man who claimed he developed a brain tumor as a result of excessive phone use for his work.

Another high profile occurrence was a recent study that was released which indicated a negative affect on unborn fetuses from phone radiation.

These are only a few of the changes that are going on worldwide, but in the last week a radical development occurred and it has turned the unlikely town of Pembroke Pines, FL into the new battleground for cell phone radiation awareness.

Inspired by a resident’s cancer survival story, Pembroke Pines passed what’s thought to be the first resolution in the state to warn residents about the possibility of cellphone radiation causing cancer.

Pembroke Pines resident Jimmy Gonzalez had a cancerous brain tumor removed from the area above Gonzalez’ left ear the same place where he held his cellphone for hours a day while working as an attorney. Just a year earlier, surgeons removed a tumor from his left hand, in between his index finger and middle finger.

The resolution encourages all residents to keep their cellphone at least one-inch away from their bodies, and to use a wired headset or speakerphone and to send messages by text or email. The resolution also encourages residents to stay informed about the latest scientific reports about cellphone radiation.

Pines plans to send the resolution, passed at its most recent meeting, to agencies across the state including the governor’s office, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Legislature to encourage other cities and school boards to adopt a similar resolution to protect Floridians.

Does this sound familiar? That is because these are suggestions we have been promoting for quite sometimes. Simple and easy to follow tips that will help you limit the dangers of exposure to phone radiation.

We all know that smartphones are a huge part of our lives, and most of us are not willing to give them up. With tawkon for Android you don’t have to. You can talk all you want and tawkon will alert you when radiation levels spike, and suggest ways to lessen your exposure.

Do you think this is a harbinger of things to come? Will more towns, cities and states all over the country begin to adopt similar requirements?

What are your thoughts?

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Cell Phone Radiation Increases Risk of Parotid Gland Tumors

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Traditionally, parotid gland tumors have been very rare. And they’ve generally shown up in people after the age of 50.

Not so anymore. According to a study done by a research group in Israel, there has been a sharp increase in these types of malignant tumors and most of them are occurring with people under the age of 20. Cell phone radiation is the suspected culprit.

What is the Parotid Gland?

The parotid gland is a type of salivary gland in the cheek the one closest to where most people hold a cell phone.

What’s important is that the new data from the Israeli study show no similar increases in the two other major types of salivary glands the submandibular and sublingual glands that are further away from where a phone is generally held.

The study, headed by R. Czerninzki of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem at Hadassah school of Dental Medicine, reported a significant increase in incidence of parotid gland tumors over last 30 years. Finding a four-fold increase in parotid gland cancers from 1970-2006, they found the steepest increase happened after 2001.

US Senate Hearing on Cell Phone Radiation

In 2008, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, principal investigator of another study on cell phone radiation testified in a US senate hearing that cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors. In his report, he stated that risk of getting a parotid tumor on same side of head used for speaking on cell phone increases by:

34% if you are regular cell phone user & have used a cell phone for 5 yrs
49% if you have spoken on phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime
58% if you’ve had more than about 5500 calls in your lifetime
Parotid gland tumors are not the only tumors being linked to cell phones.

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Is There a Connection Between Autism Electromagnetic Radiation?

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Research has established a potential link between autism and fetal/neonatal exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. Based on epidemiological data, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Recent evidence indicates the incidence of ASD to be roughly 1 per 110 children.

Some data suggest a possible correlation between autism incidence an environmental toxin known as radio frequency (RF) radiation. This is a biologically active substance. It is known that human exposure to RF radiation has increased during the past 20 years. It is suggested that fetal or neo-natal exposures to RF radiation may be associated with an increased incidence of autism.

Dr. George Louis Carlo PhD studied risks associated with cell phones funded by a government grant. The results he obtained initially indicated no correlations, however, by 1999, Dr. Carlo had obtained significantly more evidence pointing to a risk to DNA, eye cancers, and brain tumors.

At this time he developed a theory that low frequency cell phone signals are harmful to the functioning of cells. What can result of this impaired functioning is that cells which normally move wastes and toxins out of the body started to protect themselves and this cellular movement stopped. Without the ability to move wastes outside cells results in a buildup of toxins. Dr. Carlo’s hypothesis suggests that autistic children are less able to process heavy metals, so these remain in their bodies and cause neurological damage, including autism.

Further research conducted by Dr. Carlo along with Tamara Mariea and published in the Journal of the Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine in November 2007, demonstrated the positive effects that autistic children could experience in an Electromagnetic-free (EM-free) clinic. This was a trial with 20 autistic children, involving spending at least four hours, 2-3 times a week, in the EM-free clinic. In three months, analyses showed that heavy metals were beginning to be excreted by the children.

Food for Thought:

• The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets standards for the amount of radio frequency that can be emitted by a cell phone based on the size and structure of a man’s head.
• Radio-frequency signals can reach deeper into children’s head because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more fluid.
• In 2004, standards relaxed and roughly doubled the amount of radio frequency that could reach an adult brain and quadrupled that reaching a child’s.
• A child’s brain doubles in size during the first two years of life and keeps on developing until their early 20s.

Although it is impossible to pinpoint one single cause of autism or one single barrier to an autistic child’s successful recovery, we are continuing to take steps forwards in identifying contributing factors. It is definitely reasonable to agree with researchers who believe that the increase in exposure to EMR from all of the wireless devices in our lives in combination with environmental and genetic factors is creating the perfect storm to increase the incidence of autism.

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Cell Phone Towers and Mobile Phone Masts – Beacons of Harm

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Is it a cactus? A palm tree? A water tower? No It’s a cell phone tower That’s right Cell phone towers today are being disguised in subtle ways unheard of just a few years ago. See a grain silo? Or a church steeple? You guessed it. It could very well be a cell phone tower. There’s even a cell phone tower that looks just like a lighthouse.never mind that it’s over two miles from the ocean.

But don’t let the pretty and ingenious disguises fool you. There is a real and present danger lurking behind the mask of these innocent designs.

Why the disguises? Obviously, for aesthetic reasons. The cell phone companies don’t want to make their neighborhood friends upset. They want to blend in. So they blend in while they blast your home and neighborhood with toxic electromagnetic radiation.

Cell phone towers, sometimes called masts, or mobile phone towers, weren’t an issue years ago when they were few and far between. One could often drive miles and miles through the countryside and never see one. They were few in number and were only found in obscure locations and seen only on an occasional hilltop. Today cell phone towers have increased dramatically in number. There are now more than 1.9 million cell phone towers and antenna towers spread throughout the U.S. They are now found on churches, schools and firehouses as well as being seen on the rooftop of buildings everywhere. Did you know there is even a cell phone tower near Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park? Can’t sleep well at night? It may be that there’s a cell phone tower close by.

Just why would a mobile phone tower be placed on a church, school or firehouse? Why would school boards and churches agree to this? Money. It’s that simple. The mobile phone companies will pay these organizations, and individual property owners, handsomely to install their equipment on their properties. This “rent money” can range from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars a month. What school district or church couldn’t use extra money to aid a struggling budget? By “renting” the space on an already-constructed building the cell phone industry doesn’t have to purchase land, build a tower or construct a new building. It simply mounts its equipment on a structure that already exists. It’s a win-win deal for the cell phone company and the new ‘landlord.’

Opposition to these cell tower installments used to gone unnoticed and without question. Not so today. Neighborhoods and citizens are becoming vocally opposed. But it’s not the esthetics that causes residents and property owners to oppose these structures. Communities and citizens are afraid of the potential health effects being caused by this technology as well as the adverse affect on property values.

We Can’t Stop Cell Phone Tower Construction

Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to stop the proliferation and continued build out of cell phone towers and structures. Although thought to be legislation about deregulation issues, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) was really an open invitation for the cell phone industry to place their towers anywhere they wanted. Section 704 of the TCA basically states that local authorities can’t ban the placement of towers in their jurisdictions. The law says: “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.” So legally the local government can’t refuse the construction of a cell phone tower in your neighborhood Any challenge by local communities could easily end up in federal court. Our lawmakers have basically given the cell phone industry free reign to install these towers wherever they want. And, by the way, the cell phone industry helped write this legislation that our government officials passed as law The public, therefore, now has no voice and no vote. Is there something wrong with this picture? Why didn’t our public officials represent the people instead of big business? Why would you let the very industry you’re trying to regulate write it’s own laws?
Does the income outweigh the potential risks? It appears not. Scores of studies and well-respected research have exposed alarming health effects from various forms of cancer to stress. Many experts today are predicting an epidemic in brain cancer soon.

Representatives from the industry are quick to point out the microwaves emitted by cell phone towers are well below federal standards. And indeed they may be. At least on paper. Most towers operate at a power output of 100 watts. However, this isn’t the total wattage of the tower. What they aren’t telling you is that 100 watts is the power per channel. Since one tower may have dozens of channels you can see that the power output could be highly excessive and well beyond 100 watts. It’s a technical loophole. And, of course, who is monitoring the power output from these towers after they are erected? The FCC certainly isn’t. It doesn’t have the manpower or money to properly regulate the millions of towers and antennas now online. And who is to prevent these companies from turning up the wattage when no one is around? Some have reported that many of these towers have already shown power outputs in the 900 to 1000 watt range.

You Can’t Escape The Radiation. It’s Everywhere.

We simply can’t escape the exposure to this radiation. It’s everywhere. There are so many people using cell phones and wireless connections today that you don’t even have to own a cell phone to be exposed. You’re just as exposed as everyone else. Every time someone makes a call from a mobile phone the signal is sent to a cell phone tower. There are so many calls being made by everyone all around us and now there are so many mobile phone towers in operation, that all of us are caught in the crossfire. It’s like second-hand smoke from cigarettes, except that we can’t get away from it. There simply isn’t anywhere to escape.

How Mobile Phone Towers Work

Cell phone towers emit signals in a “flower petal” pattern around the tower. This 360-degree radius around the tower is called a “cell” and this is what the term “cell” in cell phone means. When your phone is in a “cell” you get good reception and when it isn’t in a?”cell” you get poor reception. So, for a cell phone company to provide complete coverage cell phone towers and antenna towers must be positioned all across the country so that the “cells” overlap. You can begin to see what a huge infrastructure needs to be created to provide complete cell phone coverage. That’s why cell phone towers and antenna towers are so prevalent. Furthermore, that’s why these antennas are installed in so many places like rooftops, fire stations, schools and churches. This is what is necessary for complete coverage.

Studies Show Adverse Health Effects From Cell Phone Towers

If you aren’t sure that cell phone towers and masts are harmful the following study summaries should convince you. Below are listed six studies that have shown significant adverse health effects on people living near cell phone towers. According to Dr. Grahame Blackwell “these are the only studies known that specifically consider the effects of masts on people. All six studies show clear and significant ill-health effects. There are no known studies relating to health effects of masts that do not show such ill-health effects.”

Santini et al. found significant health problems in people living within 300 meters of a cell phone base station or tower. The recommendation was made from the study that cell phone base stations should not be placed closer than 300 meters to populated areas. Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002; 50: 369-373.

A Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research study entitled, “Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields On Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints” found significant effects on well being including headaches, muscle fatigue, pain, and dizziness from tower emissions well below the “safety” level.
Gerd, Enrique, Manuel, Ceferino and Claludio conducted a Spanish study called “The Microwave Syndrome” and found adverse health effects from those living near two cell phone base stations. The health effects included fatigue, a tendency toward depression, sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.

From an Israeli study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004, Wolf and Wolf reported a fourfold increase in the incidence of cancer in people living within 350 meters of a cell phone tower as compared to the Israeli general population. They also reported a tenfold increase specifically among women.

In the Naila Study from Germany, November 2004, five medical doctors collaborated to assess the risk to people living near a cell phone tower. The retrospective study was taken from patient case histories between 1994 and 2004 from those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance up to 400 meters from the tower site. The results showed that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher in those patients living within the 400-meter distance and that the patients became ill on average eight years earlier. In the years 1999 to 2004, after five years of operation of the transmitting tower, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.

An Austrian Study released in May 2005, showed that radiation from a cell phone tower at a distance of 80 meters causes significant changes of the electrical currents in the brains of test subjects. All test subjects indicated they felt unwell during the radiation and some reported being seriously ill. According to the scientists doing the study, this is the first worldwide proof of significant changes of the electrical currents in the brain, as measured by EEG, by a cell phone base station at a distance of 80 meters. Subjects reported symptoms such as buzzing in the head, tinnitus, palpitations of the heart, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, agitation, headache, heat sensation and depression. According to scientists this is the first proof that electrical circuits in the brain are significantly affected by a cell phone tower. The distance in this study was a mere 80 meters.

Two-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about mobile phone towers. “Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by governments and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests.”

Dr. Bruce Hocking did a study in Syndey, Australia, of children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which by the way, are very similar to cell phone towers. He found that these children had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers.

Results in yet another recent study conducted on inhabitants living near or under a mobile phone base station antenna yielded the following prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances(23.5%). In this study the participants were given a neurobehavioral test battery measuring such things as problem solving, visuomotor speed, attention andmemory. Symptoms of exposed inhabitants were significantly higher than control groups.

Furthermore, Europe’s top environmental watchdog group, European Environment Agency (EEA), is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to mobile phone masts. EEA suggests action to reduce exposure immediately to vulnerable groups such as children.

The development of brain tumors in staff members working in a building in Melbourne, Australia, prompted the closing of the top floors of the building. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is housed in the building. Seven staff members were diagnosed with brain tumors and five of the seven worked on the top floor. A cell phone antenna is located on the roof of the building.
The Orange phone company in England is being forced to remove its mast tower on a building in Bristol, England. The removal is a result of a five-year effort by residents and local authorities to have the mast removed. Cancer rates in the building, which has become known internationally as the “Tower of Doom,” have soared to ten times the national average for the 110 residents living there. The two masts sitting on the roof, one owned by Orange and the other by Vodafone, were installed in 1994. Vodafone has refused the remove its mast.

Cell Phone Towers Affect Animals

Animals aren’t exempt from exposure the cell phone tower radiation either. One veterinary school in Hanover, Germany, reports that dairy cows kept in close proximity to a cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production in addition to other health problems including abnormal behavior patterns.

Firefighters Vote To Suspend Cell Tower Construction On Fire Stations
Concerned about the effect that masts have on the nation’s firefighters, The International Association of Fire Fighters voted in 2004 to voice its opposition to cell phone towers and antennas being place on and around fire stations. They want proof first that there isn’t a safety issue and have asked for a moratorium on further construction and placement of any more towers or antennas on or around firehouses until such a study can be conducted.

What Are These Antennas Doing To Our Kids While They’re In School?’t worth the risk. They should not be subjected to microwave radiation when science has proven there could clearly be devastating effects as outlined in the previously mentioned studies. School boards and parent organizations need to be aware of the inherent dangers from such an exposure. It’s been clearly shown that microwave radiation penetrates the head of a child much easier than that of an adult. This is due to the thinner and softer bones in the head of child. Skull bones don’t fully harden until about age 22.

How Many Cell Phone Towers Are Near You?

The average person lives within one-half mile of a cell phone tower. Have you ever wondered how close you live or work to one of these towers? Would it bother you if one were right in your backyard? How many of these towers and antennas do you think there are in your immediate area? Find out by visiting the website http://www.antennasearch.com/. Simply type in your address and you’ll get a listing and a map of all the towers and antennas within a short radius of your address. Like most people you’ll probably gasp when you see the numbers. These towers are literally everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of them are probably located within a few miles of your home or office.

Watch The Signal Bars On Your Cell Phone

The signal bars on your cell phone tell you how strong the signal is that are connecting to your cell phone. In other words, the closer you are to a cell phone tower the stronger the signal. The stronger the signal the less power your phone has to use to maintain the connection. A strong signal is indicated by a full set of “bars” showing on your cell phone display. Fewer bars mean a weaker signal. A weaker signal means the cell phone has to work harder to maintain the signal. Consequently, more power is needed to maintain the connection. The more power needed the greater the amount of radiation produced by your phone and the greater exposure to you. So always try to talk in outdoors or in an open space. This allows an easier connection from your cell phone to the nearest cell phone tower. Your phone won’t have to work as hard and less power is used to maintain the signal, which translates, to less radiation exposure for you.

What Can We Do?

Obviously, can’t escape the exposure. We’ve established that fact. So what can we do to minimize the damage?

Here are few ideas: We need to limit our exposure any way possible. Don’t live near a cell phone tower if you have a choice. Don’t buy a home near one even if the price is right. Limit your use of wireless devices. Go back to ‘wired’ connections whenever possible. Maximize your health through proper nutrition and good hydration. Eat foods high in antioxidants and take supplements. Eat organically as much as possible. There is no safe distance to locate away from a mast tower. Obviously, the closer to the tower the greater the exposure risk so do locate as far away as possible. Whenever possible encourage your local government officials to consider transitioning to the use of fiber optic cable. Most of it has already been laid underground. It’s just not being used. There are no masts with fiber optics and the small amount of radiation at the exits can be neutralized with technology now available. Discourage the use of Wi-Fi in schools by meeting with your school officials and school boards. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere now. Even whole cities are going wireless with the installation of Wi-Fi. Again, it’s all done through a wireless signal, which is damaging to your health. Don’t let cell phone companies install cell phone antennas on the roofs of schools where your children attend. The radio waves are disruptive to their ability to focus, not to mention the health hazards we’ve already outlined. If you can’t change your current situation there is some hope. There are some intervention devices now available that you can use in your home, school and office to help lessen the risk of exposure. Some very good cutting-edge technology has been developed that will intervene and help mitigate the damage being done by wireless connections.

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There was big cellphone news out of San Francisco this week – and we’re not talking about the Wednesday launch of Apple’s latest must-have gadget, the iPhone 5. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, blocked the implementation of that city’s heavy-handed cellphone radiation warning law, pending the outcome of an industry challenge.

This isn’t a case about medicine or Americans’ love of constant connection. It’s about whether the First Amendment protects businesses from engaging in nanny-state, government-ordered speech.

The ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, would require cellphone dealers to tell customers the devices may expose them to levels of radio-frequency emissions the World Health Organization classifies as potentially cancer-causing. Businesses would be required to prominently display an informational poster advising customers that the energy emitted by mobile phones is “”a possible carcinogen.”” Retailers also would have to provide customers with an information sheet and paste an informational sticker on all display literature, with all language scripted by the city.

The wireless industry has vehemently contested the assertions contained in the health advisory, noting the World Health Organization issued a report in June 2011 concluding that no adverse health effects had been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

In its brief, unpublished opinion, the 9th Circuit – which has jurisdiction over Nevada – reversed a lower-court judge who said the city could compel cellphone companies to distribute a “”fact sheet”” because its Board of Supervisors concluded “”there is debate in the scientific community about the health effects of cellphones.””

All such portable communication devices certainly do emit radio-frequency radiation, at cumulative levels that differ from device to device. Those levels will be higher for people who never put their phones down. Users should seek independent data on potential health effects.

But this case is primarily about “”compelled speech.”” In a friend of the court brief, the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute argues that retailers have a constitutional right not to be forced to speak for the government. As anyone who has looked at a cigarette pack or advertisement in recent decades could have predicted, the court agreed only in part, holding government-compelled speech must be “”purely factual and uncontroversial.”” The debate over the health risks posed by cellphones is far from settled.

“”The very purpose of the First Amendment … is to ensure that Americans are free to think, speak, write and worship as they please, not as the government dictates,”” notes John W. Whitehead, president of institute. “”Well-meaning or not, the government’s desire to communicate a disputed health alert about cellphone usage cannot be permitted to trump the First Amendment rights of San Franciscans to decide for themselves whether or not to advance such a message.””

Those concerned about the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation have plenty of ways to publicize their concerns. But if freedom of speech means anything, it certainly should forbid government from using the force of law to require anyone to speak out against his or her own interests and beliefs. San Francisco’s ordinance should be struck down before it can spread here or anywhere else.

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Microwave – and other forms of electromagnetic – radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process originally described in the 1970s as Microwave Sickness.

When the talented physician-author Servan-Schreiber wrote those prophetic words he was lucky. It had been 18 years since he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor incidental to an MRI. The book describing the anti-cancer program he developed had sold several million copies and may well have extended his life. Most brain tumors remain hidden and are only diagnosed after metastasizing into seizures or strokes. David’s luck ran out last year, when he died of a glioblastoma—spreading malignant tumor of the brain. Was it merely a coincidence that he had used one of his three cellphones held close to his head regularly for more than a decade before developing this fatal brain tumor? The WHO (World Health Organization) thinks not, having recently declared cellphone and other wireless radiation a “possible human carcinogen,” adding them to a list that includes some pesticides, engine exhausts and solvents. While we cannot be certain whether cellphone radiation may have promoted or caused the tumor that took his life, that is a highly plausible explanation.

In America today, about 20 million children under the age of 14 have cellphones, and the CDC reports that one-fifth of all 2 year olds reportedly spend two hours a day in front of a screen. Increasingly, scientists and policy makers in tech-savvy nations like Israel and Finland are concerned that the ways these devices are used imperil the brain. The iPhone plastic baby rattle case protects the phone’s glass screen from cracking when dropped or chomped on by teething inquisitive babies, but does not protect the infant’s young brain from the phone’s pulsed digital microwave radiation.

Cell phones have revolutionized the ability to carry out research and promote public health interventions. But, there’s growing recognition in technologically advanced nations that we need to get smarter about how we use these and other wireless devices. Fine print warnings that come with all smart phones today advise not keeping phones in the pocket or next to the body — advice that is typically ignored. Growing numbers of national authorities, from Israel to France and Russia are making concerted efforts to promote awareness of the need to Practice Safe Phone.

The proliferation of wireless gadgets overlooks a critical health issue: non-ionizing or microwave radiation at levels that do not induce measurable changes in temperature can change and damage the brain and sperm of experimental animals. A cellphone is a two-way microwave radio with intermittent and destabilizing pulses, unlike microwave ovens that steadily operate at the same frequencies at much greater power. The weak and erratic microwave radiation from cellphones and tablets cannot directly break the bonds that hold molecules together, but does disrupt DNA, weaken the brain’s protective barrier and release highly reactive and damaging free radicals.

A 5 year old’s brain, healthy or otherwise, is encased in a thinner skull and contains more fluid than an adult brain. According to studies carried out by industry modelers in Switzerland and France, the bone marrow of a child’s head absorbs 10 times more radiation than an adult, while that of infants and toddlers will absorb even more. Few parents realize that infant apps such as One Fish Two Fish, Peekaboo Farm, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star may do much more than amuse and distract babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that children need more real face time than screen time; more laps than apps.

Most disconcerting are findings from Nesrin Seyhan, the NATO-supported founding chairman of the Biophysics Department at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, whose studies show that prenatally exposed rats and rabbits have fewer brain cells — and those that survive sustain more damage to their brains, livers, reproductive systems and eyes. Recent reports from Yale University’s chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hugh Taylor found that prenatal exposures significantly increased hyperactive behavior in offspring. Other research carried out by National Institute of Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, MD, PhD, showed that exposures to cellphone radiation directly alters brain metabolism in human brain cells. Experimental work completed by American, Australian, Greek and Turkish teams working with experts in male reproductive health has reported that cellphone-radiation-exposed human sperm die three times faster, swim significantly more poorly, become more deformed and develop significantly more damage to sperm DNA.
The brain cancer story remains complex, because the disease has a long latency up to four decades and because past uses and users differ radically from current ones.

Distance is your Friend

What can you do to protect yourself from radiation emitted from high tech gadgets? Fortunately, industry has begun to issue more warnings. Samsung provides this advice: “Your mobile device is not a toy. Do not allow children to play with it because they could hurt themselves and others, damage the device, or make calls that increase your mobile device bill. Keep the mobile device and all its parts and accessories out of the reach of small children.”

* When it comes to using electronic devices, remember: Distance is your friend.
* Don’t hold a cell phone directly up to your head. Use a headset or speakerphone to talk on the phone, or a case (such as Pong) that has been independently tested to reduce radiation up to 90%.
* Pregnant women should keep cell phones away from their abdomen and men who wish to become fathers should never keep phones on in their pocket.
* Don’t allow children to play with or use your cell phone. Older children should use a headset or speakerphone when talking on a cell phone.
* Do not text and drive, and use specially adapted antennas for cars to avoid absorbing maximum power as the phone moves from one cell system to another.
* Turn off your wireless router at night to minimize exposure to radiation.
* Eat green vegetables and get a good night’s sleep in a dark room to enhance natural repair of DNA that may have been damaged by radiation.

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Right after I learned that a panel of scientists from the World Health Organization had said for the first time that there may be a “”possible”” link between cellphones and a highly malignant type of brain cancer, I went for a walk in my downtown neighbourhood.

Roughly every third person was using a cell phone – mommies pushing strollers with one arm and holding a phone to their ear with the other; laughing and shouting teens coming home en masse from school, some texting, some talking; the now standard wilted-tulip-necked pedestrians checking their messages.

Maybe one day, if the darkest of scenarios is true and heavy cellphone users start showing up with glioma, this everyday street scene will seem as remarkable to us as photographs of roomfuls of people from the fifties and sixties madly smoking: How could we all have been so stupid?

But then again, maybe not. The evidence of any link between the electromagnetic waves that cellphone use depends on and cancer is tenuous and frustratingly hard to quantify, and all this panel of scientists from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer did was review the existing studies to date, issue a general warning and call for, yes, more research.

Still, I’m weirdly agitated about this latest cellphone scare, however much it has been mocked by naysayers who in a rather patronizing way point out that the WHO’s list of “”possible”” carcinogens includes pickled onions and coffee.

I’m angry not because I just got a new smart phone – if anything, I will be e-mailing more and talking less – but because this cancer theory has been around for a long time and it’s not going away. Indeed it is starting to segue from a heavily mocked urban myth to a more urgent “”what if?””

It’s not myself I’m worried about. I am not a heavy user. But our grown kids don’t even have landlines. The whole ritual of renting that first apartment and waiting for a phone to be installed is ancient history.

And if they are self-employed or working on contract, as so many are, they are on their phones all day and night. For twentysomethings, a cellphone is not a habit, it’s a way of life.

So if anyone is going to end up with tumours and fertility problems (if you’re a guy and carry a phone in your jeans pocket), it’s our children. And that makes me angry on their behalf, because they are so dependent on their cells that they are probably not going to pay all that much attention to the WHO alert. (Although I do know one twentysomething who began using a headset immediately after hearing the news.)

Face it, we are all crazy about our cellphones, a fact that Marc Choma, spokesperson for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which works on behalf of the industry, emphasized so many times in the course of a very brief interview – “”we all love our cellphones, right?””- that I wondered whether the association provides a downloadable app with that soothing message.

The latest numbers show about 25 million Canadian cellphone users, which puts us in the 75 per cent range for penetration, and worldwide the figure is now up to an astonishing 5 billion users.

And as both Mr. Choma and a spokesperson from Health Canada, who said our cellphone safety standards are among the highest in the world, reminded me, any “”responsible journalist”” should emphasize that absolutely nothing has been proven, that the WHO panel only says there is “”suggestive”” evidence of a link between electromagnetic waves and cancer.

There was, however, a very odd quote on the CBC website from Bernard Lord, CEO of the CWTA. “”When you consider that more than half of 911 calls made in Canada are made from mobile devices, I think it’s safe to say mobile devices have saved lives in Canada.”” A statement so irrelevant to the subject of cancer and cellphone usage that it made me more, not less, concerned about a possible health risk.

There is no use in getting hysterical and jumping the gun as the Ontario NDP just did, calling for warnings on cellphones because, as the party’s health critic said, “”they’re cooking your brain slowly.””

But the other extreme is to blithely ignore this warning. So until further notice, it is what it always has been: user beware, while taking steps to minimize your risk like using a headset, texting instead of calling and keeping your conversations short.

Parents of teens, who live only in the moment, should probably be emphasizing safe cell use along with safe sex.

And there should be an aggressive push from consumers and governments to demand the best and most definitive research possible on the subject.

Five billion people have a right to know if cellphone use poses a significant health risk. Even if many of them wish they could just delete an alarming answer.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that mobile phone use is a possible carcinogen to humans. Today as cell phone use continues to grow, more researchers are speaking out against the technology to warn the public of serious biological side effects that must be acknowledged and remedied.

In May 2011, WHO was the first large agency to admit cell phones might certainly cause cancer, classifying its electromagnetic radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and listed cell phones in the same carcinogenic hazardous category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Given the potential consequences, WHO recommended reducing exposure of radiation through hands-free devices and text-messaging.

At the time, scientists found that the use of wireless telephones increase the risk for brain cancer, but had not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. However, in a recent lecture by Dr. Devra Davis, author of the book “The Secret History of the War on Cancer,” she provides toxicological and epidemiological evidence to back up her claims and get the word out on the dangers of cell phone radiation and the biological impact of cell phones which disrupt resonance and interferes with DNA repair causing other types of cancers in the human body than just brain cancer.

Dr. Davis analyzed one interesting case that was released in the recent May issue of the Environmental Health Trust’s newsletter about a young woman who came down with multi-focal breast cancer after having the peculiar habit of tucking her cell phone into her bra. The woman had no other predisposing risk factors for cancer. When cancer specialists analyzed the distribution of her cancerous cells they found the cancer was directly beneath the area of her breast where she’d been tucking her cell phone into her bra. While her doctor can’t prove that the cell phone radiation caused her cancer, the probability is very likely and this case should serve as a potent warning for all of us who keep our phones close to our body in our pants or shirt pockets.

“As a general rule, you should avoid carrying your phone anywhere on your body,” states Dr. Davis. It is important to know that as long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently even when you are not making a phone call. You do not want any part of your body within approximately six inches of the emitting antenna to keep away from radiation exposure.

Carrying your cell phone on your body is the worst place to store your phone. Earlier research published in 2009 showed evidence that wearing a cell phone on your hip could weaken an area of your pelvis. This study analyzed 150 men who regularly carried their cell phones attached to their belts for an average of 15 hours each day for approximately six years. Researchers found that bone mineral density was lower on the pelvis side where the mobile phones were carried, increasing the possibility that bone density could be adversely affected by the electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones. Therefore, all of us especially men may want to reconsider where we carry our cell phones.

There is now robust scientific evidence that cell phones and other wireless devices pose significant health risks to all of us. Yet, even though such findings are not being widely publicized, it makes sense for us to take action now to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Here are some useful tips from Dr. Davis to help minimize your exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices:

Avoid Carrying Your Cell Phone on Your Body: Ideally you should place it more than six inches away from the body, place it in your purse or carrying bag. Avoid carrying it in your pants or shirt pocket.
Reduce Your Cell Phone Usage and Use of Other Wireless Devices: Save your cell phone use for emergencies or important matters only. You would be wise to cut down on your use of these devices.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off More Often: Remember that as long as your cell phone is on, it still emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not making a call.

Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Limit the amount of time spent on your cell phone when you have other land lines available.

Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use which emits more radiation, and therefore the radio waves penetrate deeper into your body.
Don’t Assume That One Cell Phone is Safer than Another: There is no such thing as a “safe” cell phone, they all omit electromagnetic radiation.

Use Safer Headset Technology: Using wired headsets or speaker will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone further away from your body. And make sure that wire used to transmit signal to your ear is shielded to reduce transmitting radiation to your brain.

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As the controversy continues to rage over whether cell phone radiation can be linked to an increased risk of brain cancer, recently introduced legislation in the US Congress would offer the public more information to make educated choices over purchase and use of cell phones.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H.R. 6358, the Cell Phone Right to Know Act, a bill to grant a consumer’s right-to-know by providing for warning labels on cell phones. It would also create a new national research program to study cell phones and health and require the Environmental Protection Agency to update the outdated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). A federal appeals court in San Francisco is expected to consider a local right-to-know ordinance this week.

“Consumers have a right to know the radiation levels of cell phones and whether they are buying the phone with the lowest – or the highest – level of exposure to cell phone radiation. They also deserve to have up-to-date exposure standards that are put together by health professionals without conflicts of interest,” said Kucinich.

When Kucinich first called a hearing on the issue as Chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee on September 25, 2008, Dr. Ronald Herberman, then Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, testified to the Subcommittee, “I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are dangerous, but I certainly can’t tell you they are safe.”

Last year, the World Health Organization finished its assessment of the evidence about the links between exposure to radiation from cell phones and health problems. They concluded that there was enough evidence of a link to classify it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” placing it in the same category as lead and mercury.

The long-awaited Interphone study, a major inquiry into the potential links between cell phone use and tumors, concluded that when taken as a whole, there was not a link. However, when the data was broken down, more risk was found and the picture became clearer. Those using their cell phones typically only 30 minutes per day or more were found to have a 40% increased risk of a type of brain tumor called glioma, when compared to someone who had not used a cell phone. If the phone is used mostly on one side of the head, the risk is 96% more than someone unexposed to cell phone radiation.

“It took decades for scientists to be able to say for sure that smoking caused cancer. During those decades, the false impression created by industry supporters was that there was no connection between smoking and cancer, a deception which cost many lives. While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” said Kucinich. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.”

The warning labels required by H.R. 6358 would show the RF radiation emissions from the phone, legal limits and health-based goals for safe exposure. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the SAR is “the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile phone.” The current SAR sets a maximum level of radiation emission at 1.6 watts per kilogram. The current SAR does not take into account vulnerable populations like kids or pregnant women. It also assumes a person’s only exposure is from the phone in use, but with WiFi, “smart phones,” and Bluetooth technologies, exposure to only one wireless device is increasingly rare, especially in urban environments. A Government Accountability Office report on cell phones and health is expected to be released soon.

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