The May issue of the Environmental Health Trust’s newsletter featured an article about a young woman with multi-focal breast cancer who was in the habit of tucking her cell phone into her bra. With no other predisposing risk factors for cancer, two specialists, Robert Nagourney and John West, concluded there was only one other possibility that might have directly contributed to her breast cancer.
“We connected the dots,” the patient said. And the dots―quite literally the pattern of the cancer, and distribution of the cancerous cells―lined up perfectly with the shape of her cell phone.
Dr. Devra Davis, author of “Disconnect–The Truth About Cellphone Radiation,” has been researching the safety hazards of radiation emanating from cell phones. Dr. Davis explains the biological impact of your cell phone is not related to its power, which is quite weak, but rather to the erratic nature of its signal and its ability to disrupt resonance and interfere with DNA repair.
Regardless of the area exposed to the continuous radiation emitted by your cell phone, there’s the potential for harm, although certain areas are clearly more vulnerable than others.
Research published in 2009 showed evidence that wearing a cell phone on your hip may weaken an area of your pelvis. Using an X-ray technique used in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with osteoporosis, researchers measured pelvic bone density in 150 men who regularly carried their cell phones attached to their belts. The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours each day, and had used cell phones for an average of six years.
The researchers found that bone mineral density was lowered on the side of the pelvis where the mobile phones were carried, raising the possibility that bone density could be adversely affected by the electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones.
Last year, an Israeli research group reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors over the last 30 years, with the steepest increase happening after 2001. The parotid gland is a type of salivary gland, located closest to your cheek—the same area where most people typically hold their cell phones. The researchers found a four-fold increase in parotid gland cancers from 1970 to 2006, while rates of other salivary gland cancers remained stable.
Dr. Siegal Sadetzki has researched cell phones as a contributor to salivary gland tumors. He reported that the risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by: 34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years. 58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime. 49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime.
Pregnant women would also be wise to avoid cell phones as much as possible. In 2008, researchers analyzed data from nearly 13,000 children and found that exposure to cell phones while in the womb, and also during childhood, were linked to behavioral difficulties.
Using handsets just two or three times a day during pregnancy was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions, and relationships by the time they reached school age—and the risk became even greater if the children also used the phones themselves before the age of seven.
Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type.
Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. If you’re pregnant, avoiding or reducing your cell phone use may be especially important.
Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend. SKYPE offers a portable number via your computer that can plug into any Ethernet port while traveling.
Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Alternatively be careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking. Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
Avoid Carrying Your Phone on Your Body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.