Summary of Recent Findings on Cell Phone Radiation and Health and Fine Print Warnings Environmental Health Trust
In May 2011, an expert committee of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified “cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans”–.a category shared with lead, engine exhaust, DDT, and jet fuel. In light of this nearly unanimous position, the IARC Director, Christopher Wild MD, PhD advised consumers to “consider ways of reducing their exposure.”
In March, 2012, John P. Wargo, PhD. Chair of the Yale Environmental Studies Program along with Hugh S. Taylor, MD PhD, Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale released a report on “Cell phone Technology, Exposure and Health Effects” a peer-reviewed publication in Nature Scientific Reports, which found that prenatal exposures throughout gestation in mice significantly damages brain function, structure and behavior and suggested that these exposures could contribute to children’s behavioral disorders.
In July 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a review of cell phone testing, entitled, “Exposure and Testing of Mobile Phones Should be Reassessed” , prompted in part by an EHT expert peer-reviewed report on brain modelling, prepared by former industry advisors, Om P. Gandhi, Alvaro De Salles and others, The Washington Post reported that, “The GAO has found the Federal Communications Commission’s cell phone-safety regulations are woefully out of date. Congress may also urge the agency, whose radiation-limit rules are 15 years old, to take a fresh look at how children in particular may be affected by radio waves.”
“Children, however, are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. In fact, according to [the International Agency for Research on Cancer], when used by children, the average RF energy deposition is two times higher in the brain and 10 times higher in the bone marrow of the skull, compared with mobile phone use by adults.”
Experts in male reproductive health including Ashok Agarwal, MD, PhD, Head of Andrology at the Cleveland Clinic and Laureate Professor, John C. Aitken, MD, PhD of the Australian National Research Council Center of Excellence, have also reported both experimental and clinical findings that link heavy cell-phone use with sperm damage and reduced sperm count.
While evidence on brain cancer has been inconsistent, leaders of the World Health Organization study on mobile phones and brain cancer, Siegal Sadetzki and Elisabeth Cardis, have recently urged that,
“Even a small risk [of brain cancer] at the individual level could eventually result in a considerable number of tumors and become an important public-health issue. Simple and low-cost measures, such as the use of text messages, hands-free kits and/or the loudspeaker mode of the phone could substantially reduce exposure to the brain from mobile phones. Therefore, until deﬁnitive scientiﬁc answers are available, the adoption of such precautions, particularly among young people, is advisable.”
Consistent with this precautionary recommendation, Industry also advises consumers to take precautions now, as this short list of advisories taken directly from product safety packets indicates:
In 2011, the iPhone 4S product safety packet contained these words:
“iPhone’s SAR measurement may exceed the FCC exposure guidelines for body-worn operation if positioned less than 15 mm (5/8th inch) from the body (e.g.; when carrying iPhone in your pocket)…… When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8th inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips or holsters that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 15 mm (5/8th inch) separation between iPhone and the body.” “May exceed the FCC exposure guidelines for body-worn operations if positioned less than 15 mm (5 / 8 inch) from the body (e.g. when carrying iPhone in your pocket).”
The “fine print warning” found in the BlackBerry Tour user manual states,
“Use hands-free operation if it is available and keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. (25 mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers) when the BlackBerry device is turned on and connected to the wireless network. For more information about carrying your BlackBerry device, see the holster information in the “Additional safety guidelines” section of this document.”
In 2012, the Samsung, Convoy 2 included on p. 38 of their Product Safety and Warranty Information that comes with new phones. It states,
“Restricting Children’s Access to your Mobile Device
Your mobile device is not a toy. Do not allow children to play with it because they could hurt themselves and others, damage the mobile device,or make calls that increase your mobile device bill. Keep the mobile device and all its parts and accessories out of the reach of small children.”