As we envision a healthy future for ourselves, our children, and our planet this month, let’s take a look at cell phones. Although more than 90% of the US population now owns one, cell phones have never been proven safe. In fact, evidence for their ability to harm continues to accumulate.
Although it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle—we’ve become too dependent on our cell phones to give them up—both adults and especially children must limit cell phone use if we want a healthy future.
Nutritionist Anne Louise Gittleman has pointed out that the kind of electromagnetic radiation cell phones emit causes subliminal stress that raises blood pressure and cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, alters blood sugar regulation, lowers thyroid hormone output and can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. Cell phones also affect fertility and have been linked in children with behavioral disorders, learning difficulties and depression.
Of particular concern have been brain and salivary gland tumors (both cancerous and benign) appearing on the side of the head where cell phones have been used on a frequent basis for years. These can take from ten to forty years to develop.
Swedish oncologist and researcher Lennart Hardell, MD, Ph.D., who has been studying cell phones and cancer since the 1990’s, believes it’s time to classify radiation from both cell phones and cordless phones as carcinogenic (cancer-causing). In a recent study, he found that Swedes who used mobile or cordless phones over 25 years had triple the risk of glioma (a malignant brain cancer) compared to those who’d used wireless phones less than a year. The odds rose with years and hours of use.
While the telecom industry has sponsored studies showing cell phones are safe, such studies often include people who don’t use cell phones heavily or have used them less than ten years. Dr. Devra Davis, a former cancer industry insider who broke ranks to question cell phone safety and wrote a book, Disconnect, documenting the science on cell phones as well as the telecom industry’s efforts to undermine it, claims, “Every study that’s ever looked at people who’ve used a cell phone heavily for ten years or more finds a doubled risk of brain tumors.”
Most people, including many health “experts,” are blissfully unaware of how cell phone use may be affecting health. Though the telecom industry, like the tobacco industry before it, would like to keep it that way, change is in the air.
Last month an Italian court awarded Roberto Romeo $7,500 a year for life in compensation for a benign brain tumor he developed after fifteen years of working at a job that required him to use a cell phone three hours daily. Romeo also lost hearing in one ear. According to British tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mail, this was the first time a court anywhere had awarded damages for cell phone use. Notably, the court refused to rely on scientific evidence supplied by the telecom industry and considered only evidence from independent sources.
- Anderson M. Technology device ownership: 2015, Pew Research Center. October 20, 2015.
- Gittleman AL. Mobile phone health scares go beyond brain tumors. com. January 7, 2011.
- Hardell L. and Carlberg M. New York Times article rebuttal. Published online July 26, 2015.
- Hardell L and Carlberg M. Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma – analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009. March 2015;22(1):1-13.
- Tracy Fernandez of Green America interview with Dr. Devra Davis. A leading scientist answers your questions (and doubts) about cell phone hazards. Green American. January-February 2011:16-21.
- deGraaf M. Cell phones DO fuel tumors, Italian court rules: Man wins $7,500 a year for life after developing brain mass ‘from using his company phone.’ Dailymail.com. April 21, 2017.