High Tech Bummer: Wireless Dangers

Dr. Mercola posted a great article today about cell phone dangers, especially in children. To me, this is one of the biggest wet blankets over my enthusiasm for all our high tech gadgets. Like most people living in Silicon Valley, we use cell phones and wireless networks as if they are essential as the air we breathe. They are, right? Even if our home wireless network is off, we can easily connect to the Internet through neighbors' networks -- we usually have a choice of three.

Is this wireless pollution? Well, it may turn out that wireless -- including cell phones and wireless networks -- is more dangerous to our health than cigarettes. At present, not all the data are in and there are huge incentives to prove wireless is safe. However, the tides are beginning to turn: brain surgeons and high-profile doctors, like CNN's Sanjay Gupta, are beginning to step forward with recommendations to keep the cell phone away from your head.

In the future, expect a huge battle over this one, as cigarettes went down only because there is no demonstrable public good. Not so with wireless. It rocks, well, unless it does contribute to cancer.

Brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer in children. Experts who feel there is enough evidence supporting a wireless-brain cancer connection say children are disproportionately affected due to thinner skulls and more brain fluid which allows the signal to pass more easily through a child's brain. Interestingly, cell phones were approved for human use based on microwave safety studies, but the main flaw in that comparison is that we don't hold a microwave oven to our head.

In the Australian news clip posted at Mercola.com, a prominent brain surgeon asks all his brain cancer patients the same question. Dr. Teo asks,
You know your cancer is in the right side of your brain, it's in the area just above your ear, can you tell me if you feel that you've had more exposure than most people to mobile phones?' and I'm always surprised most people say, 'yes, I've used my phone continuously for the last seven years and it's always stuck to my ear on this side.' And I say, 'Well, that's where the cancer is.'"
Yes, this is anecdotal evidence as opposed to statistical or direct biological cause and effect, but consider that most of the studies regarding cell phone dangers were funded by the telecom industry, and they have tried mightily to bury the findings. Not enamored with ominous results from their own studies, the telecom industry elected to let go their chief health scientist, Dr. George Carlo. According to an article in Life Extension, "George Carlo, PhD, JD, is an epidemiologist and medical scientist who, from 1993 to 1999, headed the first telecommunications industry-backed studies into the dangers of cell phone use." The majority of the studies ended up showing clear health risks from cell phone usage, not the least of which is brain cancer.

Dr. Carlo now runs The Safe Wireless Initiative to spread news of studies about wireless dangers. Mysteriously, Dr. Carlo was hired due to his stellar reputation, but since leaving the telecom industry his credentials have been under attack from the cell phone industry and his home burned down. You can read about his battle with the industry in this Life Extension article.

The good news for cell phone users is that the signal drops off precipitously within 6 or so inches of the phone, so keeping it away from your body goes a long way toward protection. I also use a blue tube wired head set that "is quite a contraption," according to my neighbor who saw me with it one day. It stops the radiation at a mouthpiece that hangs at my chin. (FYI, regular wired headsets without the stethoscope-like blue tube are thought to actually concentrate the signal at your ear by receiving ambient radio waves, much like an antenna.)

Below is the Australian news clip: (Email subscribers, go to Med Nauseum to view video.)


Go-Go Mommy said...

Great post! I have to admit that I while I try to be careful with my cell phone (I use the speaker feature a lot) I never really thought about my wireless connection which I use constantly. I'll definitely be turning it off at night too.

BTW, sorry I've been so out of touch. We move into our new house (finally) next week so order will soon be restored! Here's a blog I've been meaning to send to you. You may already be familiar with it but I just love it: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/

Alix said...

Scientists Warn Congress About Cell Phones and Cancer

Alix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.