If you’re a man and you carry your mobile phone in your pants pocket, or a woman who tucks her phone into her bra or bra strap… chances are you aren’t aware of the damage this practice may be causing. You’re not going to hear about it from the cell phone companies who are resisting mounting evidence about the dangers of mobile phone radiation.
Read on for some of the major areas of health concerns (including cancer!) and what cell phone studies have uncovered thus far…
Cell Phones and Infertility/Decreased Sperm Counts
Another recent study has demonstrated that cell phones are no friends of testes, the male reproductive organs in which sperm is made. It was shown that when cell phones were in talk mode and located in close proximity to the testes, sperm cells were damaged. The study is alarming because of two key problems…
First, damaged sperm can lead to birth defects and higher incidences of various disabilities, as is the case in a greater than average number of children of older fathers. Second, the scenario tested in the study is a common one. Males who chat using hands free headsets often leave their mobile phones resting in their pockets − in perfect range to cause the testes harm.
Ashok Agarwal, who led the study and is the Director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, states, “We believe that these devices are used because we consider them very safe, but it could cause harmful effects due to the proximity of the phones and the exposure that they are causing to the gonads.”
The study consisted of semen samples taken from 32 men who exhibited similar sperm health. The samples were kept at constant temperature and other similar conditions, while being split into a control group and a test group. The test group was placed for an hour within 2.5 cm of a cell phone in talk mode, at 850 MHz, which is perhaps the most common frequency.
The transmissions led to an apparent increase in oxidative stress, with free radicals and oxidants being created at a higher then normal rate and antioxidants being broken down. Agarwal says this stress equates to damaged sperm. Other factors which can cause it include environmental pollutants or infections in the urinary genital tract, he adds.
Mobile Phone Radiation and Cancer
Do cellphones cause cancer? This is perhaps the greatest area of concern when it comes to cell phone use. Mobile phone radiation has been linked to various forms of cancer. Evidence is mounting that prolonged exposure to radiation from cell phones carried on the body can lead to breast and other cancers − at earlier ages than ever.
The World Health Organization has classified mobile phones, and any wireless devices that use microwaves to communicate, as a group 2B risk − which means that they are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Many believe that the evidence is already strong enough to classify mobile phones as definite cancer causers. They point to the increased incidence of cancer in areas of the body closest to where cell phones are carried and used. For example, testicular cancer in men occurring more frequently in the testes closest to where cell phones are carried.
A pile of research has confirmed that non-ionizing communications radiation in the radio-frequency (RF) microwave spectrum has the same effect on human health as ionizing gamma wave radiation from nuclear reactions. It has been known for about 15 years that microwaves from cell phones and tower transmitters cause damage in human blood cells which results in nuclei splintering off into micronuclei fragments.
An industry study showed that human blood exposure to cell phone radiation had a 300% increase in genetic damage in the form of micronuclei. This suggests a health threat much greater than that of smoking or asbestos exposure. The development of micronuclei is a pre-cancerous condition that can quickly develop into full blown cancer.
Research studies have also reported that adults who have used mobile phones for at least ten years experience an increase in brain cancer, salivary gland cancer, and even rare eye cancers on the side of the head where the cell phone was predominantly held.
Carrying Your Cell Phone in Your Bra is a Bad Idea
A recent study completed at Breastlink in California has revealed a strong connection between cell phones placed in the bra and the development of breast cancer in young women. The research team noted that, in the absence of family history or genetic predisposition, breast cancer occurring in women under the age of 40 is uncommon.
The researchers examined the cases of four women, with ages from 21 to 39, who developed multi-focal invasive breast cancer. They focussed on the possible association of these cases with the radiation from electromagnetic field exposures from cellular phones. Each of the women regularly carried her smart phone directly against her breasts tucked into her brassiere for up to ten hours a day, and had been doing so for several years.
Each woman developed tumors in the areas of the breasts immediately underlying the phones. Notably, the women had no family history of breast cancer, tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRACA 2 genes associated with breast cancer development, and had no other known breast cancer risks.
A review of their breast images showed clustering of multiple tumor foci in the breast directly under the area of phone contact. The pathology reports of all four women revealed striking similarity:
- All tumors were hormone-positive
- All tumors were low-intermediate grade
- All tumors showed an extensive intraductal component
- All tumors revealed almost identical form and structure, and specific structural features
Breast surgeon Dr. John West told TV station KTVU that “young breasts in the early evolution are more sensitive to changes that might lead to cancer.” Dr. West and others have also pointed out that men too are getting breast cancer by carrying cell phones in their shirt pockets.
The Industry’s Cover-up of Damage Caused by Mobile Phones
The wireless phone industry has vigorously disputed every study indicating a link between mobile phones and health problems. They have even provided their own studies which purportedly show that cell phones are safe and present no health hazards. Of course, whenever there are huge profits and liabilities at stake, industries typically try to counter harmful evidence. One example is when industry labored for years to keep asbestos and fiberglass off the carcinogens list.
Another example is the tobacco industry disputing and denying for years that smoking caused cancer or other health problems. Stan Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Education, compared the cell phone situation right now to the cigarette situation in the 1950s.
“There was enough evidence to be concerned [about cigarettes in the 1950s], but the details were not really nailed,” Glantz said. “Cell phone companies have learned from cigarette companies how to contest science, and they’re doing it.”
Then there is the Word Health Organization (WHO) that sponsored the Interphone Study. First the study was delayed for four years. Then a news embargo was placed on study participants. And finally, instead of reporting proof of cell phone dangers (as had been documented all the way up until just days before the study was finally released), the study instead reported that it found no evidence of cell phone dangers. The findings contradicted the study’s evidence as well as the opinions of some study scientists!
In actuality, the Interphone Study did discover that long-term mobile phone usage increased the chance of glioma by 40%, but dismissed the risk because of possible biases and errors. Six of eight Interphone studies found increased risks of glioma, the most common brain tumor, with one study finding a 39% increase.
An Israeli study found heavy users were about 50% more likely to suffer tumors of the parotid salivary gland. Two studies into acoustic neuroma, a tumor of a nerve between the ear and brain, reported a higher risk after using mobiles for ten years. A Swedish report reported the risk as being 3.9 times higher.
Contradicting the study’s conclusions, Dr Elisabeth Cardis of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona (who led the stud) said: “Overall, my opinion is that the results show a real effect.” Bruce Armstrong, another Interphone researcher from the University of Sydney, said: “There is evidence that there may be a risk; Interphone has made that a little stronger.”
Why did the study reverse itself at the end? Many observers believe that the study’s independence was compromised because the mobile phone manufacturers helped fund the project to the tune of around 5.5 million Euros.
In 2015, a landmark cellphone “Right to Know” law was passed with a unanimous 9-0 vote by the city council of Berkeley, California, home of the world renowned University of California Berkeley and arguably one of the most erudite cities in the world. This was the first safety ordinance of its kind in the United States and requires cell phone makers to include a city-prepared notice letting people know the minimum separation a cell phone must be held from the body to limit radiation exposure.
Measures to Help Minimize Cell Phone Health Risks
A good rule of thumb when it comes to cell phones: distance is your friend. In other words, the farther you keep a cell phone from your body, both when carrying it and when talking on it, the better. In other words, do not keep cell phones in your pockets, clipped to your belt, or stuffed into your bra. Likewise, do not keep a cell phone turned on and close by when sleeping.
Here are the five measures adapted from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for safer cell phone use:
1. Use a headset or speaker instead of holding the phone up to your ear
2. When in use, hold phone away from your body − The amount of radiation absorbed by your head and body decreases dramatically with even a small distance. Don’t put the phone in your pocket or clip it to your belt, even when using your headset.
3. Text more and talk less − Phones emit less radiation when sending text rather than voice communications.
4. Call when the signal is strong − Fewer signal bars mean the phone must try harder to broadcast its signal. Research shows that radiation exposure increases dramatically when cell phone signals are weak.
5. Don’t store your phone in your pocket (or under your pillow) − When a phone is on and not in use, it still sends out an intermittent signal to connect with nearby cell phone towers, which means mobile phone radiation exposure is still happening.
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