Thursday, September 30, 2010

New posting! Mobile phones: the hidden danger in a wireless age



Well I know it has been a long time since I updated this blog..... I turned out to be too busy with my clinic, toddler and lecturing to keep it up. Since my last post a lot has changed. I now am based in New York which so far has proved every bit as exciting as you would expect. I am always on the hunt for herbs in the city and hope to post some pictures of herbs I have spotted on the mean streets of Manhattan.

My first post however is not about herbs but about the dangers of mobile phone radiation.

A very well researched book was published by Dr Devra Davis this month highlighting these dangers of mobile phone radiation.
(http://www.environmentalhealthtrust.org/content/about-dr-davis ) She is a Ph. D professor and scientist who recently testified before a U.S. senate committee panel about the dangers of phone use. Her books makes chilling reading.

For those of you who don't have the time to rush out and buy the book here is a brief synopsis:

  • Cell phone emit microwave radiation to the brain to a depth between 4-6 cm of those using them. Smart phones ( 3G and 4G) use the same wavelength as microwave ovens albeit at a lower power.
  • 3G and 4G phones constantly send pulsed signals back and forwards to their base tower meaning that even if you are not using the phone and have it in your pocket you will be exposed to regular bursts of radiation.
  • Children are much more susceptible to radiation due to the the higher water content of the child's brain and the thinner scull.

SHORT TERM AFFECTS TO EXPOSURE OF CELL PHONE RADIATION
  • Animal studies have shown exposure of rats brains to mobile phone type radiation can lead to epilepsy. Exposure akin to the regular use of Wireless devices affect the ability of rats to learn and remember what they learnt. Rats exposed to two hours of cell phone radiation a day show leakage of fluid from the brain to the blood meaning the blood brain barrier is breached. The affects of this breach seen in the rats was impaired memory
  • Human studies. For the past 5 yrs scientists have been following two groups of children aged 5-12- one which uses mobile phones and one that does not. The Russian researchers found changes in the working of the brains of cell phone users. Increased fatigue, decreased attention, and a decreased capacity to work. Cell phone radiation causes the blood brain barrier to relax allowing any toxin circulating in our blood (alcohol, drugs, toxic chemicals) to enter the brain. It has be suggested that this is how the damage to DNA occurs.
  • The highest levels of radiation occurs in the ear, acoustic nerve, the eye, and the salivary and parotid gland. In Israel which has the heaviest cell phone usage in the world the rate of cancers in all of these areas has tripled in people under 20 years old.
  • Cell culture studies. Show that cell cultures exposed to cell phone radiation show DNA damage that cause severe genetic defects leading down the path to cancer. With ten times more damage seen with the new 3G phones opposed to the old 2G ones.
  • Cell phone radiation caused damage to fibroblasts (cells involved with healing and repair).
LONG TERM AFFECTS TO EXPOSURE OF CELL PHONE RADIATION
  • Those who use their cell phones the most and for the longest have more malignant brain tumour than others.
  • Long term studies of ten years all show an increased risk in brain tumours in heavy cell phone users. (please note that heavy users were defined as using their phones for one hour a day of the old 2G network)
So why aren't the mobile phone companies warning us? Well they are but in tiny print. These are the REAL warnings added in tiny 6 point type by the mobile phone companies- here they are in larger type:

  • DO NOT HOLD DIRECTLY ON THE BODY (Nokia)
  • HOLD 0.98 INCHES FROM BODY (Blackberry)
  • HOLD PHONE 5/8TH OF AN INCH FROM BODY (iPhone)
  • HOLD PHONE 1 INCH FROM BODY (motorola)
  • NO PART OF THE BODY TO BECOME TOO CLOSE DURING USAGE (Droid)

What can you do to limit exposure?

  • In a series of peer reviewed papers it has been suggested for every mm of distance the phone is held from the head, the exposure to the brain is reduced by 10%. - Speak using a hands free devise or on loud speaker will reduce exposure. If you are using a wifi head piece switch it off when you are not using it.
  • Turn your phone off if you are carrying in your pocket to limit exposure though the phones roaming while not in use.
  • Ideally text rather tan make phone calls.
  • Sleep away from any wifi devise.
  • Do not use a wifi enabled computer/ ipad on a desk rather than in contact with the body. I tend to turn off the wifi airport if I don't need to be using the Internet.
  • Pregnant women should keep their mobile phone away from their abdomen. Nursing mothers should likewise avoid theirs child's head to be exposed while talking or texting.
  • Use a land line, and not a cordless phone that also emit radiation.
  • Consider checking the radiation (SAR) levels before buying a new phone.
Well I think that is enough to be going on for today! Looking forward to my next post.....



Bibiolography:

Disconnect: The truth about cell phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family. Devra Davis. Dutton. New York, 2010.

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