Cell Phones - Can They Cause Cancer?
Two scientists told the U.S. House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy that use of cell phones may raise the risk of brain cancer. The concern came from Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany.
The two scientists cited a major study recently presented by Dr. Lennart Hardell of Örebro University in Sweden, which stated that people using cell phones doubled their risk of developing brain cancer and acoustic neuromas, a tumor that damage the hearing nerve.
The study also showed that people who started using cell phone before the age of 20 years were more than five times as likely to develop brain cancer.
The European Parliament recently voted 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to impose stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, wi-fi and other radiation-generating devices -- in part because children are particularly vulnerable to the risk.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
I have been warning of the dangers of cell phones for nearly a decade now, and as the supporting evidence keeps mounting, scientists, medical professionals, and government agencies around the world are starting to caution against cell phone use as well.
Ever growing scientific research corroborates the suspicion that information-carrying radio waves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:
Cause brain tumors
Harm blood cells and cause cellular changes
Damage your DNA
Cause nerve-cell damage
Accelerate and contribute to onset of autism , and trigger Alzheimer’s disease
Damage your eyes
Cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches
Tumor immunologist Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), is the last in a recent succession of authorities that are speaking out publicly about the potential dangers of cell phones.
Dr. Ronald Herberman’s Message
Earlier this year, Dr. Herberman sent out a staff advisory that included a summary analysis of the recent studies forming the basis of his precautionary message. In his testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy on September 25, 2008, Dr. Herberman stated:
“My evaluation of the scientific and technical information indicating the potential hazards of cell phones was built on the foundation of my extensive experience in cancer research and critical evaluations of reports being submitted for peer-reviewed publications.
I recognized that there was sufficient evidence to justify the precautionary advisories that had been issued in other countries, to alert people about the possibility of harm from long-term, frequent cell phone use, especially by young children.
Then, Dr. Davis and I consulted with international experts in the biology of radiofrequency (RF) effects and the epidemiology of brain tumors, and with experts in neurology, oncology and neurosurgery at UPCI.
Without exception, all of the experts contacted confirmed my impression that there was a sound basis to make the case for precaution, especially since there are simple and practical measures that can be taken, to be able to continue to use cell phones while substantially reducing the potential hazards.”
Dr. David Carpenter and the BioInitiative Report
Dr. Carpenter also testified about the scientific foundation for cautionary measures before the U.S. House Subcommittee. Dr. Carpenter is a physician who has researched and published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals on the environmental causes of human disease.
He also served as the co-editor of The BioInitiative Report, published August 31, 2007, by an international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals.
The report documents serious scientific concerns about the current limits regulating how much radiation is allowable from power lines, cell phones, and many other sources of exposure to radiofrequencies and electromagnetic fields in daily life.
It concludes that the existing standards for public safety are completely inadequate to protect your health. The report also includes studies showing evidence for:
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 and Acoustic Neuromas
Childhood Cancers (Leukemia)
Magnetic Field Exposure: Melatonin Production; Alzheimer’s Disease; Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Promotion (Melatonin links in laboratory and cell studies)
Disruption by the Modulating Signal
Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana’s Review of More than 100 Studies
Another noted brain cancer authority who has recently voiced his concerns is Australian Dr Vini Gautam Khurana. He is a Mayo Clinic-trained neurosurgeon with an advanced neurosurgery Fellowship in cerebral vascular and tumor microsurgery. In February 2008, Dr. Khurana issued a paper titled: Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors after reviewing more than 100 sources of recent medical and scientific literature.
Says Dr. Khurana,
“In the context of the fact that widespread mobile phone usage commenced in the mid-1980s (earliest in Northern Europe), with the first 10 years of widespread usage ending in the mid-1990s, and the fact that solid tumors may take several years to trigger and form, it seems plausible to expect that if no appropriate changes are made by Industry and consumers alike, in the next 5 - 10 years the aforementioned concerning associations will likely be definitely proven in the medical literature.”
He goes on to say:
“Given the calculated “incubation time” and the commencement of mobile telephony’s mass deployment in Sweden, it is no surprise that Swedish researchers were among the first to report a positive association between cell phone use and brain tumor risk.”
Public Warnings on the Rise
Like I’ve said before, there’s really no shortage of evidence showing that cell phone use (and other wireless devices) can be dangerous to your health. Fortunately more and more people are beginning to take the warning signs seriously.
In 2005, the British-based National Radiological Protection Board suggested children younger than age 8 should not be given a cell phone as it risks exposing their young bodies to harmful radiation. This year Toronto's department of public health followed suit, warning that because of possible side effects from radio frequency radiation, children under 8 should only use a cell phone in emergencies, and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes.
The U.K., Belgium, Germany, France and Russia have also introduced precautionary policies regarding cell phone usage due to potential health risks.
Few people realize this, but brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer killer in children, and many scientists believe this is directly linked to the exponential increase in cell phone use and other wireless devices.
Australia has 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.
The INTERPHONE Study – Will it Settle the Issue in Time?
As reported in Microwave News in June this year, the results from the largest cell phone study to date are being eagerly awaited by both industry and governments worldwide.
The INTERPHONE Project -- a 13-country epidemiological study of tumors among users of mobile phones – is already lagging three years behind its scheduled completion date. Part of the delay in putting together the final report now appears to be internal strife, as scientists are joining opposing camps of “safe” vs. “unsafe.”
Dr. Lennart Hardell’s study mentioned in the article above is part of this larger research project.
The outcome of this particular study may be more vital than most people realize, as institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission have cautioned that conclusions about possible cancer risks cannot be drawn until the INTERPHONE study is published.
If the wrong conclusions are drawn from these studies, the resulting lack of public warnings could have disastrous consequences for the generations to come.
Remember, the damage from cell phone exposure will take many years to surface. There are rarely any initial symptoms, just like smoking and lung cancer. Do you really want to risk the chance of developing brain cancer because you can’t sacrifice the minor inconvenience of using your cell’s speaker phone, or using a safe headset?
I recently finished writing my latest book, Wireless Deception, which covers this serious health issue in greater depth. But for immediate recommendations on how to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of cell phone radiation, please review the guidelines included in my previous article, Now Half the World Has a Cell Phone - - Why That is a Brain Tumor Epidemic Waiting to Happen.