Do Cell Phones Cause Cell Damage?
Is Your Cell Phone Putting You into a “Dead Zone?”
In 1973, Motorola launched the first mobile telephone, affectionately referred to as “the brick” due to its size and shape. Today, nearly all adults and most teens in America rely on their cell phones for a wide variety of tasks.
Recently, I sat in an airport terminal waiting for my plane. I looked around at the myriad of travelers sitting there and noticed that nearly everyone had their heads down, focused on a cell phone.
In recent years, with the sharp rise in cell phoneuse, some are beginning to question whether they present any potential dangers. The real, looming question centers around electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and its long-term effects on the human body.
Conflicting information on the internet about the potential dangers of cell phones hints at: conspiracy, corporate deception, and radical claims about their harmful effects. Frankly, it can be difficult to sift through all the information and arrive at an informed conclusion. But one thing is for sure: as with the history of carcinogens like tobacco and asbestos, we cannot afford to assume that cell phones are innocent until proven guilty.
The question also arises, if cell phones are dangerous, why were they ever allowed to be so widely distributed in the first place? According to one insider, the companies that brought cell phones to the market, “pressured government regulatory agencies to allow cell phones to be sold without pre-market testing. The pressure worked, and cell phones were exempted from any type of regulatory oversight, an exemption that continues today.”
There is no dispute that cell phones, as well as other electronic devices, emit electromagnetic radiation.
The radiation specific to cell phones is called radiofrequency (RF) energy by the cell phone industry. But as Dr. Devra Davis warns, this designation is misleading. “In fact, a cellphone is a two-way microwave radio. If people understood that they were holding a two-way microwave-radiating device next to their brain or next to their reproductive organs, they might think differently about it.”
In the early 1990s, questions about the safety of cell phones arose when a man filed a lawsuit alleging that cell phones caused brain cancer in his wife that killed her. The cell phone industry responded by creating Wireless Technology Research (WTR), a non-profit organization, to conduct research to demonstrate the safety of cell phones. They appointed Dr. George Carlo as the head of WTR’s research team.
Dr. Carlo recruited an elite team of scientists and they began their research. More than 50 studies that were peer-reviewed and published in many medical and scientific journals demonstrated that…
Cell phone radiation “caused DNA damage, impaired DNA repair, and interfered with cardiac pacemakers.”
But in 1998, when WTR was ready to communicate its findings to the public, the cell phone industrystepped in and conducted all sorts of nefarious activities aimed at discrediting WTR’s findings and shoving them under the carpet.
In Great Britain, in 2000, Dr. William Stewart issued a warning on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians that advised teenagers not to use cell phones due to the possibility of their harmful effects.
Then, in 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that there may be a connection between cancer and EMR emitted from cell phones.
In 2013, the National Cancer Institute posted on their website, “Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck. More research is needed because cell phonetechnology and how people use cell phones have been changing rapidly.”
Then late last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a precautionary health warning about cell phone radiation and provided tips for reducing one’s risk to exposure. However, inexplicably, the CDC retracted this warning 10 days later. Media experts speculate about their reasons for this retraction.*
If you read the safety information that came with your cell phone, it talks about the SAR value, or the Specific Absorption Rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. But Dr. Davis argues that SAR only estimates one component of risk from cell phones and “does not gauge the risk from the frequencies of the cell phone, the erratic pulsing and modulation of the signals, or the magnetic fields from batteries.”
Dr. Davis warns that studies have shown that pulse digital signals from cell phone radiation can alter and weaken cell membranes and increase the production of free radicals in the body, which are very damaging.
How to Reduce Cell Phone Radiation Exposure
- Use a hands-free option: the speakerphone, headphones, or other headset and remove from your head when finished with a call.
- Proximity matters: don’t carry a cell phone in your pocket. Carry it at least 10mm (3/8”) away from your body.
- Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the cell phone in a manner that has not been tested.
- Meet with people face-to-face instead of on a device.
- Frequency of exposure matters. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to be texting, calling, watching, or listening on my cell phone all the time?”
It appears that the jury is still out on whether cell phone use literally places us into a “dead zone.” But as more and more organizations warn about their potential danger, it seems prudent to heed their cautions.
Comment about iPads interfering with pacemakers.
The iPad2 has been found to interfere with pacemakers in some people when held up to their chest. With respect to the iPad2, the culprit seems to be the magnets that help hold the lid closed on the iPad according to the Heart Rhythm Society.
Any device with magnets or that emits radiofrequency energy can potentially impact a pacemaker or other cardiac rhythm devices. The iPads, when held at reading distance from the subjects, did not appear to affect their pacemakers.
Other devices that emit electronic radiofrequency energy and may interfere with cardiac rhythm devices include:
- Anti-theft systems
- Metal detectors
- Cell phones
- MP3 players
- MRIs and other electronic medical equipment