Cell phones and our health


There is a growing body of evidence of harm from long-term use of cell phones, and although the jury is still out, it may be wise to heed the early warning signs.

Although I have heard the warnings and the reassurances with respect to cell-phone safety and have been meaning to write about this topic for some time, it has taken me this long to broach this topic because I feel a bit like I am walking on foreign territory – something I don’t understand too fully, and am trying to wrap my head around. So I will present what I have found, and you can follow the resource links and make up your own mind. I use my cell phone daily, but am now trying to get into the habit of using the speaker phone option, rather than holding the phone to my head. Once again, I figure better safe than sorry.

The radiation the cell phones emit is between 1 and 3 Watts, in the microwave range, and that radiation DOES get absorbed by the head, or whatever body part is nearest the phone. Initially the concern was that this radiation heated the cells causing damage, but from the resources I’ve looked at, it looks like the body is able to dispel the heat quite easily. Based on that knowledge, claims to cell-phone safety have been made.

However, the radiation emitted from the phone is pulsed, and apparently very similar to the electrical oscillations sent within the brain (alpha and delta brain waves). Our body is a very sensitive electrochemical system, so it seems reasonable that radio waves from external sources at similar frequencies to our internal frequencies may interfere with our bioelectrical systems, in much the same way that cell phones interfere with airplane controls and hospital equipment. One can induce a seizure in photo-sensivitive epileptics by flashing a light at 15hz. The seizure is not caused by a reaction to the heat of the light, but rather by how the brain interprets or recognizes the frequency of the impulses. So it is the similarity to the frequencies commonly used within the body, confusing the body which may be problematic. One of the frequencies used by cell phones seems to be similar to one that induces cell division in the body, perhaps explaining the links between cell-phone use and brain cancer. Other EMF studies have shown links to Alzheimers, leukemia, ALS, breast cancer, blood pressure, heart disease, fertility, miscarriage, joint pain, migraines, fatigue, concentration difficulties, increased reaction time, and sleep disorders.

Children under the age of 16 are particularly vulnerable because their skulls are thinner and much smaller, increasing the radiation absorption. And if they are using cell phones at such a young age, they will have many more years of exposure than if they were starting later, potentially exacerbating the damage, as studies seem to indicate that the longer the exposure, the heavier the use, the more likely a problem. Some people may be far more sensitive to this electromagnetic pollution than others, and Bluetooth handsets actually increase rather than reduce exposure. Since radio frequencies are known to disrupt melatonin production, if you have difficulty sleeping, it may be worth getting a land line, rather than having a cordless or a cell phone, to reduce exposure. If you have a cell phone, carry it in your briefcase, knapsack or purse rather than in a pocket.

To check the the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) (the quantity of radiofrequency energy that is absorbed by your body) of your cell phone,
click here.

Comments and feed-back keep most writers going, so please do comment!

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Online at Cell Phone Radiation Levels

BBC News Mobile phones ‘may trigger Alzheimer’s’ Feb. 5, 2003.

Hardell L et al. Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for > or =10 years. Occup Environ Med. 2007 Sep;64(9):626-32. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Kan P et al. Cellular phone use and brain tumor: a meta-analysis. J Neurooncol. 2008 Jan;86(1):71-8. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Hours M et al. Cell Phones and Risk of brain and acoustic nerve tumours: the French INTERPHONE case-control study Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2007 Oct;55(5):321-32. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Mild KH et al. Pooled analysis of two Swedish case-control studies on the use of mobile and cordless telephones and the risk of brain tumours diagnosed during 1997-2003. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2007;13(1):63-71.

Kundi M et al. Mobile telephones and cancer–a review of epidemiological evidence J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2004 Sep-Oct;7(5):351-84.

World Health Organization 2003 WHO research agenda for radio frequency fields

Agarwal, Ashok et al.
Effect of Cell Phone Usage on Semen Analysis in Men Attending Infertility Clinic: an Observational Study Fertility and Sterility 89 (2008): 124-128.

Huber, Reto et al. Exposure to Pulsed High-Frequency Electromagnetic Field During Waking Affects Human Sleep EEG NeuroReport 11 (2000): 3321-3325.

Oftedal, G, et al. Symptoms Experienced in Connection with Mobile Phone Use Occupational Medicine 50 (2000): 237-245.

Youbicier-Simo BJ, Bastide M. Pathological effects induced by embryonic and postnatal exposure to EMFs radiation by cellular mobile phones (written evidence to IEGMP). Radiat Protect 1999; 1: 218-23.

Braune S et al. Resting blood pressure increase during exposure to a radio-frequency electromagnetic field. Lancet 1998;351:1857–8.

Borbely AA et al. Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. Neurosci Lett 1999; 275: 207-10.

Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd

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  1. Sue said,

    May 11, 2008 @ 11:34 am

    The possibility that cell phone use could cause brain tumours near the ear is why I don’t own or use a cell phone. I’m deaf in one ear and just don’t want to risk any potential damage to the other one! I do wonder if cordless phones or even wireless computers could cause similar damage…

    You mentioned epileptics seizures caused by flashing a light. There is a warning on a brain training / relaxation cd I have that tells those who have epilepsy or a history of seizures not to listen to the cd. I guess the use of ‘binaural audio technology’ – which I think is rhythmic beats – could trigger a seizure, just like the light.

  2. Vreni said,

    May 11, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

    Hi Sue,

    Must say I’ve wondered the same thing about wireless computers. They sit in our lap for hours on end … Cordless phones are a risk for sure – there’s a fair amount of data on them too.

    Vreni 🙂

  3. Diane said,

    June 3, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

    It is not advisable to place a laptop computer on your lap.

  4. Esther said,

    October 4, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    Let me tell you a story about my experience with a laptop and wireless energy. Whenever I put my laptop on my lap, there was increased “activity” from within my body, close to my left ovary. An internal ultrasound showed a small fibroid about the size of a pea in that precise spot. The technician was surprised when I told her this fibroid became active when very close to a laptop. Needless to say, the laptop is now my “desktop” and never on my body.

  5. Dave said,

    October 4, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    Great article Vreni. Thanks for the reminder about the dangers of cell phones.
    I have to wonder if our cell phones are emitting pulsed radiation all the time or only when transmitting and receiving data/texts/calls. Potentially there is a difference in the magnitude of the radiation at these times?
    One more thought that your article suggested to me – using text messages is relatively safer than calling mobile to mobile (seems as if kids these days are way ahead of us!)

  6. Robert Halili said,

    March 1, 2015 @ 7:17 pm

    I was skeptical when I first read this but now I’m a believer. My experience is with my 17-year old son with Autism. He suffered a seizure in January 2013 and paranoia and anxiety attacks happened and got worse in the second half of that year. He would scream and stomp on the floor loudly after midnight which was difficult as we live in an apartment. He also acted like there were ants all over his body. We tried to restrain him but it only got worse. He was admitted to a Pediatric Psychiatric ward in December that year and was discharged two weeks after. The Doctor prescribed him Abilify for 8 months. My son’s anxiety attacks stopped but he was a complete zombie when he was on this Bipolar drug. My son recovered and he stopped taking Abilify in November last year and was back to his joking normal self until third week of December 2013 when he started humming really loud, then wouldn’t eat, would slur and kept wagging his tongue. He also suffered headaches. His condition got worse, started getting the same anxiety attacks in January this year. The only time he calmed down was when we took him outside but the occurrences became more frequent. He actually wanted to get out of our apartment as fast as he could like the place was on fire. My wife and I were resigned to admit him back to the Psychiatric ward and put him back on Abilify as his condition was getting worse. Then things turned around significantly a week ago. I was massaging his head in his bedroom then I remembered (Vreni’s) article on mobile phones. I have also read about potential dangers of WiFi signals and I asked my wife to turn off the WiFi modem. The modem even though it was in the living room was only about 2 feet from my son’s bed separated by a 2 inch concrete wall. When my wife turned the modem off I saw my son’s eyes open up, he sat up straight and started acting normally. It was like someone turned very loud music off and got some peace. It was an instant turnaround. I believe now the WiFi modem probably caused my son’s seizure and paranoia 2 years ago and has been frying his brain the past four years in his sleep. We’ve eliminated unnecessary radiation such as wireless landline phones and moved DSL Modem as far away from his room. We only use ethernet cables now, no more WiFi or Bluetooth devices. We don’t use the mobile phones near him and we turn our phones off at night. I’m writing this to parents that may have issues with Autistic children. And please use my experience for future articles as I’m sure other parents are wondering why their children are suffering mental problems for no reason. It may just be the electronic gadgets in your house.

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