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How Dangerous is Your Cellphone?

How Dangerous is Your Cellphone?
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By    |   Tuesday, 19 December 2017 03:04 PM

No doubt cellphones are dangerous. Texting and driving comes immediately to mind, a quick cause-and-effect with the often-gruesome evidence in plain sight.

But cellphones may also be dangerous at a slower pace. In fact, this month officials in California released information about the harmful health effects of long-term exposure to cellphone radiation as well as guidelines on how people can best protect themselves.

“People are being injured and harmed by the delay in having this information accessible to them,” says Dr. Joel Moskowitz of UC Berkeley, who successfully sued the California Department of Health for not releasing information about the dangers of cellphone radiation.

There’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that cellphone radiation disrupts bodily functions in minute ways that build up over time and can ultimately be just as deadly as a texting teen driver. Although research has proven no definitive links between the phones’ use and chronic disease, there’s been enough evidence to convince the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

As a result, some health advocates advise taking precautions to limit cellphone risks, just in case they are eventually proven to be significant.

“In a way, we’ve all unwittingly become part of an uncontrolled population-wide experiment on cell phone safety,” says Chris Kesser, a leading natural health practitioner. “And the precautionary principle applies -- we don’t know that it’s harmful, but it makes sense to take reasonable measures to reduce exposure in case it is.”

The “exposure” of concern is radiofrequency waves (RF), a type of microwave radiation that allows your phone to communicate with the local cell tower. When you hold the phone next to your head, the RF also bombards your brain. No one is sure how much harm that actually does, but there’s no question kids are affected more.

“The rate of microwave radiation absorption is higher in children than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls are thinner, and their relative size is smaller,” according a report from the Environmental Health Trust published recently in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure.

Still, no one knows how much damage that radiation may cause. Research has been inconclusive.

But a recent $25 million study using lab rats sent shockwaves through the cellphone industry.

Scientists with the government’s National Toxicology Program meticulously exposed thousands of rats to calibrated RF levels to approximate human usage. The more exposure they got, the more likely they were to develop rare forms of brain and heart cancer.

“I was surprised because there had been so many studies before that had pretty consistently not shown elevations in cancer,” says David. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at the State University of New York at Albany.

“In retrospect, the reason for that is nobody maintained a sufficient number of animals for a sufficient amount of time to get results like this.”

Brain cancer isn’t the only concern. Human studies have also suggested that cellphone radiation may increase the risk of leukemia in some children and can affect fertility in men by reducing sperm count, motility, and viability.

Even more alarming, experts say the body can interpret RF as an invader, triggering protective biochemical reactions that can disrupt communication between cells, increase free-radical buildup, encourage leakage in the blood-brain barrier, cause genetic damage and spark a cascade of other biological problems.

Fortunately, almost all of the bad stuff happens only when the cellphone is very close to the body. So you can reduce the risks by taking the following precautions:

  • Distance yourself from your phone. Keep it at least six inches away from your body by using a hands-free headset or speaker phone mode while talking. Don’t carry it in your pocket or at your waist, or use “airplane mode” if you do.
  • Use a land line whenever possible.
  • Avoid cellphone calls when the signal is weak. The worse the reception, the more RF the phone will generate in trying to stay connected.
  • Keep calls short, or send a text message instead.
  • Limit your kids’ cellphone usage as much as possible.

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A new advisory from California health officials about cellphone dangers has renewed questions about potential risks, even though research has not concluded they pose a significant public health threat. Still, some experts recommend taking precautions to limit potential cellphone risks.
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2017-04-19
Tuesday, 19 December 2017 03:04 PM
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