Article excerpt from Consumer Reports Sept 28, 2015
In May 2015, a group of 190 independent scientists from 39 countries, who in total have written more than 2,000 papers on the topic, called on the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and national governments to develop stricter controls on cell-phone radiation. They point to growing research—as well as the classification of cell-phone radiation as a possible carcinogen in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO—suggesting that the low levels of radiation from cell phones could have potentially cancer-causing effects.
“I think the overall evidence that wireless radiation might cause adverse health effects is now strong enough that it’s almost unjustifiable for government agencies and scientists not to be alerting the public to the potential hazards,” says David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany in New York and one of the authors of the recent letter to the U.N. and WHO.
Some countries have taken steps to protect users, at least when it comes to children. For example, France, Russia, the U.K., and Zambia have either banned ads that promote phones’ sale to or use by children, or issued cautions for use by children.
The city council of Berkeley, Calif., has also acted. In May 2015, it approved a “Right to Know” law that requires electronics retailers to notify consumers about the proper handling of cell phones. CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group, is now trying to block that law from going into effect, as it successfully did after San Francisco passed its own Right to Know law five years ago.
What Is Cell-Phone Radiation, Anyway?
Your phone sends radiofrequency, or RF, waves from its antenna to nearby cell towers, and receives RF waves to its antenna from cell towers when you make a call or text or use data. The frequency of a cell phone’s RF waves falls between those emitted by FM radios and those from microwave ovens, all of which are considered “non-ionizing” forms of radiation. That means that—unlike radiation from a nuclear explosion, a CT scan, or a standard X-ray—the radiation from your phone does not carry enough energy to directly break or alter your DNA, which is one way that cancer can occur. (FM radios and microwaves don’t raise alarms, in part because they aren’t held close to your head when in use and because microwave ovens have shielding that offers protection.)
How Could the Radiation From Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
In 2011, researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that low-level radiation from an activated cell phone held close to a human head could change the way certain brain cells functioned, even without raising body temperature. The study did not prove that the effect on brain cells was dangerous, only that radiation from cell phones could have a direct effect on human tissue.
RF waves from cell phones have also been shown to produce “stress” proteins in human cells, according to research from Martin Blank, Ph.D., a special lecturer in the department of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University and another signer of the recent letter to the WHO and U.N. “These proteins are used for protection,” Blank says. “The cell is saying that RF is bad for me and it has to do something about it.”
And just this year, a German study found that RF waves promoted the growth of brain tumors in mice, again at radiation levels supposedly too low to raise body temperature. The U.S. National Toxicology Program is now running an animal study of its own, exposing rats and mice to low-dose radiation. Results are expected in 2016.
What Do Cancer Studies in Human Populations Show?
Three studies—one from Sweden, another from France, and a third that combined data from 13 countries—suggest a connection between heavy cell-phone use and gliomas, tumors that are usually cancerous and often deadly. One of those studies also hinted at a link between cell phones and acoustic neuromas (noncancerous tumors), and two studies hinted at meningiomas, a relatively common but usually not deadly brain tumor.
Though those findings are worrisome, none of the studies can prove a connection between cell phones and brain cancer, for several reasons. For one thing, cell-phone use in certain studies was self-reported, so it may not be accurate.
In addition, the findings might be influenced by the fact that the study subjects owned cell phones that were in some cases manufactured two decades ago. The way we use cell phones and the networks they’re operated on have also changed since then. Last, cancer can develop slowly over decades, yet the studies have analyzed data over only about a five- to 20-year span.
Are Today’s Phones Safer?
Cell phone designs have changed a lot since the studies described above were completed. For example, the antennas—where most of the radiation from cell phones is emitted—are no longer located outside of phones near the top, closest to your brain when you talk, but are inside the phone, and they can be toward the bottom. As a result, the antenna may not be held against your head when you’re on the phone. That’s important because when it comes to cell-phone radiation, every millimeter counts: The strength of exposure drops dramatically as the distance from your body increases.
So Should I Stop Using My Cell Phone?
“The evidence so far doesn’t prove that cell phones cause cancer, and we definitely need more and better research,” says Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer Reports. “But we feel that the research does raise enough questions that taking some common-sense precautions when using your cell phone can make sense.” Specifically, CR recommends these steps:
- Try to keep the phone away from your head and body. That is particularly important when the cellular signal is weak—when your phone has only one bar, for example—because phones may increase their power then to compensate.
- Text or video call when possible.
- When speaking, use the speaker phone on your device or a hands-free headset.
- Don’t stow your phone in your pants or shirt pocket. Instead, carry it in a bag or use a belt clip.
A few more tips from Chris
I think the precautionary principle is important, and I’ve followed all of the advice above for years. When I’m out and about, and my phone is in my pocket, I often put it on airplane mode, which disables the cell phone signal. If I’m expecting a call, and my phone is on, I periodically switch back and forth between front and back pockets, and sometimes I hold it in my hand instead. And although I don’t always wear them, cargo shorts/pants have lower leg pockets, which keeps the phone further away from my you-know-whats.
One more thing CR should have mentioned. Ladies, don’t store your phone in your bra!
For further information on the impact that EMFs and radiation can have on your health, read my post Is electropollution making you sick?
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This Post Has 15 Comments
Good to know. I’ll remember this when I go for my walks. I listen to a podcast on my phone, with it tucked in my pocket. But I will use Airplane Mode as a reminder. Thanks for the info!
….even when are not in use they transmite radiation. keep them away from your body.
After reading content of this site I conclude that you are either incompetent or fraud because normal person will never spread so many misinformation, Im toxicologist/nerologist so can wrote professional opinion about your post, what only you want is taking money from other and one clever move I must admit you, disclaimer you simply disclaims any responsibility that your “advice” will cause. P.S I dont wrote about this article(it isnt your only paste from other site) but overall about this site content.
“If you are here to attack and argue, don’t bother. Your comment will be deleted.” so in other word you simply delete any comment which show your incompetence? good to know, but dont worry we also have our blog where we describe quackery like from this site if you will be interested reading review about you let me know.
I was just wondering about this. Thanks Chris.
What about the Bluetooth? Is that just as ’emitting’ as the cell phone?
Thanks Chris for all your hard work and research….the movie/comedy/documentary “Thanks for Not Smoking” makes a reference to this problem as the next “tobacco” cover up/obfuscation by the big cell phone corps…..maybe. Whats the incidence of brain tumor/cancer occurrence in relation to the uptick in cell phone use? Is there correlation? Where is that data? But my comment is more about your and many others lingering belief that cancer is dna / gene mutation caused. It is not. It begins with chromosomal scrambling and rearrangement, then survival of mutant cell onward to hyperplasia. But as long as the cancer industry can discard with Kochs Postulates, they will keep their gene test kit industry and research machine humming along wasting millions/billions of dollars on “treatments”. We in the nutrition camp know that their house of cards will fall at some point. We just need to keep banging away.
PS: Cancer cannot be caused by cytotoxic viral infection as is now the industrial media/medicine hoax. They are two distinct animals with different cell behaviors.
“PS: Cancer cannot be caused by cytotoxic viral infection as is now the
industrial media/medicine hoax. They are two distinct animals with
different cell behaviors.” after reading this fragment I can conclude that you dont really know about what you wrote.
“Postulates, they will keep their gene test kit industry and research
machine humming along wasting millions/billions of dollars on
“treatments”. We in the nutrition camp know that their house of cards
will fall at some point. We just need to keep banging away.” so what you wrote that you are in opposite camp and have conflict of interest, let me guess you also are pro-detox etc.?
“Where is that data? But my comment is more about your and many others
lingering belief that cancer is dna / gene mutation caused. It is not.
It begins with chromosomal scrambling and rearrangement, then survival
of mutant cell onward to hyperplasia. But as long as the cancer industry
can discard with Kochs Postulates, they will keep their gene test kit
industry and research machine humming along wasting millions/billions of
dollars on “treatments”.” I dont understand that what this bad cancer industry discard?
and of course what some kind of “natural docs” will dont and therefore in your eyes cure?. Im very curious because Im neurologist/toxicologist Im sorry you of course try play very competent in this field yet you really dont provide any real information.
“PS: Cancer cannot be caused by cytotoxic viral infection as is now the
industrial media/medicine hoax. They are two distinct animals with
different cell behaviors.” which animals about what you wrote? Im admit eng. is not my native language but you are first person which I dont understand, you really wrote without sense.
P.S “”Thanks for Not Smoking” makes a reference to this problem as the next
“tobacco” cover up/obfuscation by the big cell phone corps…..maybe.”
there is currently far more money in other side of the coin.
Sorry i am not sure if I understood you but I really think some cancers are caused by viruses and germs they became cancerous wwhen are chronic or cause chronic infections.
What about all these cell-phone towers? Our family land butts up to six of these and now I’m cautious about building on the land for fear of the radio waves causing negative effects to my health. Please tell me what you know.
Patty, unfortunately wi-fi and cell towers are here to stay and only getting more and more every day, that is why I protect my family with MRET Technology, as seen in “The Truth About Cancer” Series.
that too cause cancer. specially children cancers. and other illnesses.
Just wanted to share what my sister’s doctor mentioned when she went to a Gerson clinic in Mexico for stage IV breast cancer last year. The doctor told all of us that a few weeks prior to our arrival, the patients at the clinic at that time were having dinner one evening when they all began to discuss their tumors. They all discovered that everyone’s tumors were located in the same exact spot where they wore their cell phones on their bodies all day long at work. By the way, my sister is now cancer free! Thank you Chris for speaking with her when she was in Mexico and for all you do to help keep us informed.
well my daughter has a friend, she has a brain surgeon brother who told her there brain cancer in the last 10- 15 years has increased 40%. He insist that cell phones cause cancer (digital hearing aids too) and he know it for sure as well breast cancer in girls and young women who place the phone near her breast. A California gyonocologist give the alarm in the news and radio when in 6 months found girls from 15 to 20+ ages with breast cancer. all of them placed their phnoes near the breast.
I would appreciate links to the research studies you mention.
The EWG put an article today in my inbox that claims radiation covers for cell phones are more harmful because the phone has to work harder. Chris, I believe you have recommended the Defender Shield for cell phones in the past and I have them on all of my devices. Are they unique or should I not use them anymore?
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