Thursday, May 27, 2010
What is the Real Cancer Threat from Cell Phones?
What is the Real Cancer Threat from Cell Phones?
Browse By CategoryPosted by: Dr. Mercola | May 27 2010 | 11,529 views
Next PostThe U.S. President’s Cancer Panel has reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated.” The panel pointed to cell phones and other wireless technologies as potential causes of cancer.
In its recommendations, the panel stated:
“Methods for long-term monitoring and quantification of electromagnetic energy exposures related to cell phones and wireless technologies are urgently needed given the escalating use of these devices by larger and younger segments of the population and the higher radiofrequencies newer devices produce.”
Dr. Ted Schettler, director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, said
“... Even if cell phones raise the risk of cancer slightly, so many people are exposed that it could be a large public health burden.”
Electromagnetic Health May 6, 2010
President's Cancer Panel 2008-2009 Annual Report (PDF)
New York Times May 6, 2010
World Wire May 7, 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
The President’s Cancer Panel report has taken on a momentous issue: how to reduce environmental cancer risks. In 2009, 1.5 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer, and the report suggests that the percentage of these directly caused by environmental factors has been “grossly underestimated.”
In its 240 pages, the report touches on more than a handful of environmental carcinogens, each worthy of their own attention. From the 80,000 largely untested and unregulated chemicals used in the U.S. to medical imaging, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, tainted water and air pollution, it seems no stone has been left unturned in the scope of this report.
But there is one issue that really stands out, one that has not received nearly the attention that other carcinogens like bisphenol-A or diesel pollution have, and that is the use of cell phones. This report stands to change that, however, as it clearly notes wireless technology as a formidable force in the fight against environmental cancers.
Cell Phone Use and Wireless Technology is of “Great Concern”
The report states:
“The use of cell phones and other wireless technology is of great concern, particularly since these devices are being used regularly by ever larger and younger segments of the population
… the research on cancer and other disease risk among long-term and heavy users of contemporary wireless devices is extremely limited. Similarly, current and potential harms from extremely low frequency radiation are unclear and require further study.”
The panel members consulted with close to 50 medical experts in writing this report, and clearly they have recognized that one of the main challenges in proving the link between cell phones and cancer is that they have only recently infiltrated the market.
The panel writes:
"It is not known exactly what percentage of all cancers either are initiated or promoted by an environmental trigger … Some exposures to an environmental hazard occur as a single acute episode, but most often, individual or multiple harmful exposures take place over a period of weeks, months, year, or a lifetime."
For instance, the induction period for brain tumors can be at least 30 years. Cell phones have only been widely used for a decade or so, and usage is only increasing at exponential levels. What this means is that the real effects of regular cell phone usage will not begin to show up for another 10 or more years, but by then it will be too late.
The 10-year-old who starts using a cell phone today may not realize the impact until he’s diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 40!
The President’s Cancer Panel, realizing this, has urged the usage of the precautionary principle -- not only for cell phones but for all potentially cancer-causing substances bombarding Americans as I write this.
A Precautionary Approach Will Save Countless Lives
You may be surprised to learn that several countries including France, Germany and India have issued recommendations to limit your exposure to electromagnetic fields, including those from cell phones and other wireless technologies.
This includes Toronto’s Department of Public Health, which has advised teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones to avoid potential health risks.
What these countries are doing is using the precautionary principle, and taking action now to protect their population from a potentially devastating health tragedy.
As the President’s Cancer Panel reported:
“The Precautionary Principle asserted in a consensus statement that “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”
The core tenets of the Precautionary Principle are:
Taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty.
Shifting the burden of proof to proponents of an activity.
Exploring a wide range of alternatives to possibly harmful actions.
Including public participation in decision making.
… when credible evidence exists that there may be a hazard, a precautionary approach should be adopted and alternatives should be sought to remove the potential hazard and still achieve the same social benefit.
Such an approach acknowledges the uncertainty of identifying cancer risks in complex, poorly understood environmental systems.”
In the case of cell phones and wireless technologies, there is more than credible evidence that a hazard exists, and immediate steps should be taken to prevent further exposure.
Cancer Risks from Cell Phones are Well Established
The 2009 special EMF issue of the Journal of Pathophysiology contains over a dozen different studies on the health effects of electromagnetic fields and wireless technology
In addition, a review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology revealed that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.
Because children have thinner skulls than adults, and their nervous systems are still developing, children are particularly vulnerable to this type of tumor and should not use cell phones at all.
Professor Mild, lead researcher of that particular study, also cautioned that the danger may be even greater than what they found because cancers need a minimum of 10 years to develop. Since children today are using cell phones at an earlier age than any previous generation, their exposure will be far greater over their lifetimes.
The BioInitiative Report also includes studies showing evidence for exposure to electromagnetic fields and:
Effects on Gene and Protein Expression (Transcriptomic and Proteomic Research)
Genotoxic Effects – RFR and ELF DNA Damage
Stress Response (Stress Proteins)
Effects on Immune Function
Effects on Neurology and Behavior
Brain Tumors, Acoustic Neuromas, and childhood cancers like leukemia
Cell Phone Usage is at an Unprecedented High
The report points out that in 2008, Americans spent 2.2 trillion minutes on mobile phones, up 100 billion minutes from the year before.
“As the use of cell phones has increased, so has concern about their potential harmful health effects, particularly whether cell phone users are at greater risk for brain cancer,” the report notes.
“Cell phones and related devices become more sophisticated each year, and they are producing energy at increasingly higher radiofrequencies necessary for their expanded functions. The number of cell phone towers also is growing as cellular service providers strive to provide customers a maximally robust network.”
I urge you to take action now to protect yourself and your family from the dangerous effects of cell phones and other wireless devices, as if you wait for the next governmental report to come out, it could be too late.
Cell phones will one day be to the 21st century what cigarettes were to the 20th, and you don’t want to be among the last to learn the truth.
Australia has already seen an increase in pediatric brain cancers of 21 percent in just one decade. This is consistent with studies showing a 40 percent brain tumor increase across the board in Europe and the U.K. over the last 20 years.
Brain cancer has also now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer killer in children … what else are we waiting for to take action?
I suggest you don’t wait, and instead begin to minimize your exposure minimize exposure by heeding the following advice:
Reduce your overall 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.
Children Should Not Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults because of their thinner skull bones.
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 and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Alternatively you can use a regular cordless phone if your home is large enough and there are at least three rooms between the base station and where you sleep and spend most of the time in the day.
Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters will not be of much use). You can find meters at http://emfsafetystore.com/.
As a general rule of thumb, you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
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.
Don’t assume one cell phone is safer than another: Please understand that despite assurances, there’s still no such thing as a “safe” cell phone.
Keep your cell phone away from your body when it’s 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 (so do not carry your cell phone on your belt, either).
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 information carrying 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.
I believe this issue is so important I’ve created an entire web site dedicated to EMF education and information. Feel free to bookmark EMF.mercola.com and check back on occasion for the latest news and updates.