Dr. Devra Davis, founder of Environmental Health Trust and author of the book Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, talks about the studies pointing to the health risks associated with using the mobile phone and advocates a smarter way to use the device to reduce those risks. Dr. Davis cited a recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association that showed increased glucose metabolism in the brain after an hour of using the cell phone. While the long-term implications of the findings are still to be determined, Dr. Davis says there is reason for concern because cell phone radiation penetrates the skulls of children more deeply than those of adults and have never been evaluated for their impact on the developing brain. She also mentioned studies made in Europe that show people who use the cell phones for ten years have double the risk of developing brain cancer. People who start using the cell phone during their teen years have 4 to 5 times of getting brain cancer by the time they hit their twenties.
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Other topics that were discussed:
- Cell phones have never been tested for how they are used by most people, such as men putting their phones on their breast or pants pockets–where the exposure to radiation is four times than when the phone is placed in a holster (by the waist) or when used against the head. Research has shown that putting the cell phone in the pants pocket is associated with reduction in sperm count and increased sperm damage.
- The long-term impact is what we need to be concerned about, just as with nuclear radiation effects. Cell phone radiation, however, is non-ionizing radiation, which is different from the ionizing radiation coming from a nuclear reactor. But just as with nuclear radiation, distance is your friend: the further you are from the source, the lesser the effects become. Hence, Dr. Davis advocates the use of precautions, such as using the speaker phone or headset. [We would go a bit further and recommend an air tube headset as opposed to the regular headset.]
- It is important to realize that cell phones are two-way microwave radios, as the recent San Francisco legislation indicates, and there are safer ways to use them. Although the microwave frequencies used in cell phone communications is much weaker that the frequencies used in a microwave oven, people use their phones for thousands of minutes or thousands of hours in their lifetimes.
- The World Health Organization leaders have published a warning that they believe it is time for prudent precaution with the use of cell phones. The governments of Britain, Finland and France have already issued various warnings, and Israel has been moving towards discouraging young children from using cell phones.