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Here is a synopsis from some of the more reliable sources, of the potential risk of cell phones.Laptops, etc. may also be risks.


What parts of the body may be affected during cellular telephone use? There is concern that RF energy produced by cellular phones may affect the brain and nervous system tissue in the head because hand-held cellular telephones are usually held close to the head. Researchers have focused on whether RF energy can cause malignant (cancerous) brain tumors such as gliomas (cancers of the brain that begin in glial cells, which surround and support the nerve cells), as well as benign (noncancerous)tumors, such as acoustic neuromas (tumors that arise in the cells ofthe nerve that supplies the ear) and meningiomas (tumors that occur in the meninges, which are the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord) (1). The salivary glands also may be exposed to RF energy from cellular telephones held close to the head.

What can cellular telephone users do to reduce their exposure to RF energy?

Switch to a type of cellular telephone with a hands-free device that will place more distance between the antenna and the head of the phone user.


Recent research suggests, however, that although short-term exposure is harmless, long-term cell phone use may be a different story. Three studies since 1999 indicate that people who have used cell phones for more than a decade may have as much as three times greater risk of developing brain tumors on the side of the head against which they most often hold their phone—an argument for, at the least, shifting ears regularly or, even better, using an earpiece or the speakerphone feature while chatting.

"For people who've used their cellphones for more than 10 years and who use their phone on the same side as the tumor, it appears there's an association," Lawrie Challis,emeritus physics professor at the University of Nottingham in England and former chairman of the U.K.'s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research program, told Scientific American.com during a recent interview.


During a hearing before the House subcommittee on domestic policy, Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute,used visual aids to drive his point home. Herberman held up model brains, one of an adult and another of a 5-year-old, each with a cellphone held to a corresponding ear.

Cell-phone radiation travels about two inches into an adult brain, but penetrates beyond the center of a child's brain, Herberman explained. "I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are dangerous, but I certainly can't tell you they are safe," said Herberman, who in July issued a memo (Business Week.com,8/5/08) urging his 3,000 staffers to limit cell-phone use among themselves and their children. "We urgently need to do a study [to resolve this question]," he told the subcommittee, chaired by Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).


Dec.6, 2006 — A huge study from Denmark offers the latest reassurance that cell phones don't trigger cancer. Scientists tracked 420,000 Danish cell phone users, including 52,000 who had gabbed on the gadgets for 10years or more, and some who started using them 21 years ago.

They matched phone records to the famed Danish Cancer Registry that records every citizen who gets the disease — and reported Tuesday that cell-phone callers are no more likely than anyone else to suffer a range of cancer types.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the largest yet to find no bad news about the safety of cell phones and the radio frequency energy they emit.


Some people think Senator Kennedy's cell phone caused it.

Senator Ted Kennedy's been diagnosed with a malignant "glioma," a kind of brain cancer specifically considered a risk for cell phone users.

Should you be worried?

The truth is cell phones have not been around long enough to give us the kind of long-term studies we really need to know for sure.

And the research is conflicting. Some studies show no increased risk. So I'm not ready to tell my readers and patients that cell phones definitely cause cancer. The FDA says, "The available scientific evidence does not show that any health problems are associated with using wireless phones." But they then go on to add, "There is no proof, however, that wireless phones are absolutely safe."

Some of the most up-to-date research suggests that there is some cause for concern. Here's what I know:

•Researchers in Israel found last year that people who used cell phones heavily experienced a 58 percent increase in "parotid tumors"—a cancer of the saliva gland near the ear.1

• Another study last year out of Sweden concluded that cell phone users are ten times more likely to develop benign cancers of the ear and brain.2

• Several animal studies have found that the kind of radiation cell phones use can damage DNA in brain cells. Damaged DNA is one of the things that can turn healthy cells into cancer cells.3,4

Cell phones use microwaves called "radio frequency radiation," or RF, to transmit signals. Their antennae emit most of the RF, and since you're holding the phone right next to your ear most of the time, a lot of it penetrates the brain—as much as 60 percent according to some studies.5

Depending on the siz eof your head and the amount of radiation coming from the specific type of phone you use, you may be literally "cooking" your brain: RF energy can potentially cause the temperature of your brain tissue to rise slightly.6

So I recommend you take steps to protect yourself now instead of waiting for proof positive. Here are a few guidelines to protect yourself from any risk from cell phone RF:

• Keep cell phone calls short.

• Go with a "hands-free" headset or a speakerphone—this keeps the cell phone from direct contact with your head.

•Don't carry your cell phone in your chest- or hip pocket. Even when in"standby" mode, cell phones continue to emit radiation, exposing whichever part of your body is closest.

• When using a hands-free headset, let the wire extend fully between your head and the phone.This distributes RF in small amounts along the length of your body rather than concentrating it in any one location.

• Look for a phone with "voice-activated" features. These enable you to place calls and perform other commands without having to hold the phone close to your head.

• Use a standard "landline" whenever possible.

• Find out the level of RF emissions for your cell phone. If it's high, replace it. Cell phones come with emissions ratings known as "SARs" or specific absorption rates. These range from 0.5 to 1.6 W/kg (watts of power absorbed per kilogram of body tissue). Avoid any cell phone that falls within range of that upper limit. My Wellness Research team's tracked down the SAR ratings for some commonly used cell phones:

Make/Model & SAR Rating

Alcatel OT-256 0.59

Apple iPhone 0.974

Blackberry 8100 Pearl 1.52

Kyocera KX1 (SoHo) .99

LG Prada 1.29

Nokia 2300 1.27

Nokia 2650 .54

Palm Treo 600 1.43

Palm Treo 650 CDMA 1.50

Samsung PM-A840 1.29

Samsung SPH-A900 .92

Sanyo M1 1.22

Sanyo SCP-5400 1.16

Sharp GX20 .7

Sony Ericsson A1228C 1.34

Sony Ericsson K600i .5

Sprint PM 8912 1.27

T-Mobile Dash 1.34

Finally,the FDA provides SAR ratings for most kinds of cell phones and other wireless devices on line. You'll need to locate your cell phone's FCCID number, which is usually located somewhere on the case of the phone or in the battery compartment.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD


1Sadetzki et al. "Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Benign and Malignant Parotid Gland Tumors—A Nationwide Case-Control Study." Journal of Epidemiology. 2007. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm325.

2 Hardell et al."Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for 10 years." 2007. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 64:626-632

3 Lai et al. "Acute low-intensity microwave exposure increases DNA single-strand breaks in rat brain cells."Bioelectromagnetics. 1995. 16:207-210.

5 Cardis et al. "Distribution of RF energy emitted by mobile phones in anatomical structures of the brain." Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2008. 1;53(11):2771-2783.

6Foster et al. "Thermal mechanisms of interaction of radio frequency energy with biological systems with relevance to exposure guidelines."2007. Health Physics. 92:609-620.

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You will know you have been using your cell phone way too much and may be susceptible to the cancer causing agents from the use of phone if you discover any of these symptoms:

1. Do parts of your body tingle when you get free cell phone minutes?

2. Does raising your children interfere with programming your speed dial?

3. Do you have long-distance conversations while sitting on the toilet in a public restroom?

4. Does the term "fashion statement" mean matching your outfit with your cell phone carrying case?

5. If you get into a car accident, is your first response "Can you hold on a moment, I’m hemorrhaging?"

6. Does the sound of static trigger dark memories of ill-fated connections?

7. Do you keep pushing the menu button in order to use your phone as a night light?

8. Does it take you an hour on a regular phone to get the same feeling of a five-minute cellular call?

9. When receiving a phone call, do you ever ask the film projectionist to lower the volume of the movie?

If you experience any of these problems you should consult a physcian to have the phone permanently implanted.

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