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To Your Health

Phone Messages

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05/01/2012 - The following piece was one of the most frustrating I have written in a while. My editor and I talked about it and she encouraged me to go ahead and write about it because it would give folks something to ponder.

A majority of individuals have cell phones and they are handy and convenient. But are there any health risks? My thinking has been too much of a good thing is probably not a good thing. First, some background: Cell phones emit a low frequency electromagnetic field. This is the same low frequency electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from power lines, and base stations. There are some concerns (I would not use the word "hysteria" because I feel that is overkill) about the negative effects of radiofrequency radiation on human tissues and of course the subsequent potential threat of carcinogenesis.

An article entitled "Risk of Brain Tumors From Wireless Phone Use" from the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomagraphy, 2010, discussed this question. The article surveys the results of early cell phone studies, where exposure duration was too short to expect tumor genesis, as well as two sets of more recent studies with longer exposure duration -- the Interphone studies and the Swedish studies led by Hardell. Here are the highlights:

"The effect of radiofrequency radiation on the human giving rise to brain tumor is being extensively studied all over the world. Investigations suggest that the use of a mobile phone for 10 years can dramatically increase the risk of developing a tumor."

"Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, and this may be harmful to the human health"

The cell phone signal is absorbed deeply into the brains of children and up to two inches into and adult skull.

Most negative studies (no evidence of correlation) on cell phones and tumors "have been substantially funded by cell phone industry."

The authors cite evidence that shows:

An association between cell phone use and the development of glioma, a type of brain cancer.

There is a consistent pattern connecting cell phone use and the increased risk of developing brain cancer.

Long term cell phone use increases the risk of tumors of the head.

The radiofrequency emissions from cell phones can damage the DNA in sperm. Cell phone storage in front pockets has been linked to poor fertility and an increase chance of miscarriage and childhood cancer.

Long term use cell phone can increase the likelihood of being hospitalized for migraines and vertigo by 10-20%.

Cell phone radiation damages DNA, an undisputed cause of cancer.(WOW!)

"The global system for mobile communication cell phones operates at a frequency of 900-1800MHz. The interaction of cell phones with the base station via radiofrequency radiations occurs even when the phone is not in use." (So in other words, if your phone is off but still in your pocket there is still some form of communication going on with your phone like receiving a text or a phone message).

Okay, now I have to wrap this up and this is a good spot so I will leave you with these thoughts. Level of risks to individuals is a basic question but my concern is with children. If what these authors are saying is true, this is a legitimate concern. Also, I am one of those individuals who is sensitive to electrical current. I don't know why but I have been that way since I was young and my parents couldn't figure out why I was so hesitant about plugging things in a socket, I occasionally felt electric current go through things that they didn't and I thought something was wrong with them. I wonder if individuals like myself who have these episodes should be the ones who have to pay attention to this information. I also wonder if individuals who are not sensitive are at the same risk. More on this next month,

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