Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stop Microwaving Your Brain; Don't Hold Cell Phone Against Your Ear

One of the global trends is explosive growth of cell phone users. In United States, there are 285 million cell phones in use as of Dec 2009 according to Wikipedia, and that's 91% of entire US population having a cell phone. Remarkably there are countries that have more cell phones than people. As of now (November, 2010) US may well be on the course to join these multiple cellular device countries with increasing Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad popularity.

Cell phone has clearly revolutionized the way we communicate, provided important tools for social networks, and became a lifeline to connect far-flung population in remote areas of developing world. It has become an essential part of our lives for all.

But there is growing concerns that indiscriminate cell phone use are jeopardizing public health. The cause for concern is cell phone radiation.

I want to share a few articles with you outlining the dangers and unknowns with cell phone radiation. At the end I will draw a parallel between cell phone industry and tobacco industry.

1. Cell Phone Is Low-Power Microwave Device

Many of you may have seen the catchy YouTube video where several cell phones were used to make a few kernels pop. While it is impossible to make popcorn with several cell phones, it is in fact true that cell phone is small low-power microwave device.

Typical microwave oven uses 2.45 GHz radio frequency at about 1000 to 1500 watts, while cell phone uses lower radio frequency from 824 MHz to 1990 MHz at about 1 to 2 watts. Cell phone is in fact low-power microwave device that operates at different radio frequency.

Microwave oven uses 2.45 GHz radio frequency to create alternating electric field within its cavity. Because water, fat and other food substances have positive/negative charge on their each end of their molecules, they rotate to align themselves with alternating electric field, and this rotation creates heat which cooks the food.

2. Unknown Dangers of Prolonged Low Level Microwave Radiation

Because cell phones have 0.1% of power of microwave oven and operates at lower frequency, our intuition tells us that we must be safe. Not so true says

The site lists several studies to claim that lower intensity microwave radiation can have adverse health impact when used over long periods:

- A 1986 study by Dutta et al. showed that at 915 MHz and various exposure levels showed that “The effect at 0.0007 mW/g SAR [specific absorption rate] was quadruple the effect at 2.0 mW/g, in other words 3000 times the intensity had 4 times less of an effect under these particular conditions.” (Related 1991 article by S. K. Dutta showed similar results)

- A 1989 study by Chiang et al. found that white blood cell phagocytosis was stimulated by chronic exposure to the lowest intensities of radio waves and inhibited, sometimes severely, by higher intensities... Exposure levels ranged from 0–4 mW/cm2 to 120 mW/cm2.

- A 1978 study by Shandala and Vinogradovsults found that by a 30-day experiment with guinea pigs at 1, 5, 10, and 50 mW/cm2 all microwave radiation intensities increased complement in the blood and stimulated phagocytosis by neutrophils, but "1 mW/cm2 had the biggest effect, and 50 mW/cm2 the smallest effect.”

- Dr. Leif Salford, of Lund University, Sweden, "had previously reported that short exposure to microwaves at 915 MHz damages the blood-brain barrier... 'The most remarkable observation in our studies,' said Salford [at the conference], 'is the fact that SAR values lower than 1 mW/kg give rise to a more pronounced albumin leakage than higher SAR values... The situation that the weakest fields, according to our findings, are the biologically most effective, poses a major problem.'"

Arthur Firstenberg, the author of "Radio Wave Packet", has also compiled the research findings about adverse effects of microwave radiation in two-pager PDF.

3. Someone Wants To Cover Up The Research

George Carlo is an American public health scientist and research director that headed 7-year-long $28-million study on health effect of cell phones. After the study, George Carlo had become a cell phone critics and warning the potentially disastrous public health effects of cell phone use.

Why Would WesterosBanshee Repeatedly
Vandalize George Carlo's Wikipedia?
What is interesting about George Carlo is what we don't find out about him on Wikipedia. If you check out his wiki page now, you don't get much info. If you look at the history, however, you'll see one internet troll (WesterosBanshee) has effectively sabotaged the page since June 2010. Who on earth might do that? Doesn't he know that history is tracked in Wikipedia?

What seems even more desperate attempt to smear George Carlo's credibility is seen at SourceWatch, wiki-style corporate front groups and lobbyist profile page. SourceWatch is supposed to be collaboratively maintained, getting feedback from many citizens, thereby uncovering corporate propaganda tactics, or at least that was the intent. But if you read what's shown under George Carlo at SourceWatch, you get anything but.

Well, there opposite of Wikipedia is happening. Too few contributors. In fact the entire article was created by single ID, Stewart fist.

One Person Author Wiki Page;
Where Is The Benefit Of Crowd Sourcing?

4. Anecdotal Evidence Is Mounting

There are increasing cases of heavy cell phone users getting sick, especially those users who used cell phone as handset against their ear.

This Smells Like Smoke

If [George] Carlo and Schram are correct about their concerns, the cellular industry--as unbelievable as it sounds--may go the way of Big Tobacco.
--John J. Miller's Review of George Carlo's Book "Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider's Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage"

Researches suggest that there is a cause for concern when using cell phone. But what has been clear is that public is not as aware of potential dangers of using cell phone.

Some skeptics may argue that there is no direct link between cell phone use and any reported adverse health effects. Yes, we do desperately need further study on cell phone's affect on public health. But establishing direct causal link will be nearly impossible. Even with tobacco and lung cancer, the best we can say about them is that tobacco increases the chance of lung cancer. We don't know whether tobacco causes it or not for all people.

In spite of this uncertainty, no one disputes the fact that people have died of cigarette, and consumers are aware of this danger. This warning is clearly marked on every tobacco sold in US as Surgeon General's warning.

Cell Phones Need To Carry This Warning
Cell phone industries should make this as clear as tobacco does today for every users. Until public becomes aware of this potential danger, there will be more victims of heavy cell phone use. If cell phone industries continues to hide discussions and studies, this may blow up in their face as multi billion dollar lawsuits and major setback to growing adoption of cell phones.

Because of such high adoption rate, this may end up being even bigger public health threat than tobacco. Nearly half of Americans sleep with cellphone near by, and some are even sleeping with cell phone under their pillow.

Until we learn more, use precaution when handling your cell phone. Stop hold your cell phone against your ear, and especially don't let kids use cell phone.

No comments:

Post a Comment