Jackson,WY January 22, 2011 — On January 21, the eve of breaking national news about how altered brain activity, caused by routine cell phone use, may increase the risk of brain tumors, Mayor Mark Barron and the Jackson Town Council were ahead of the curve in unanimously approving Environmental Health Trust’s (EHT) efforts to promote cell phone safety awareness in schools throughout the Jackson community.
In a letter to Teton County School District (TCSD) Superintendent Pam Shea, Mayor Mark Barron wrote, “The Town Council of the Town of Jackson wishes to support the Teton County School District in their efforts to make school children aware of potential hazards associated with cell phone use.”
Spearheaded by volunteer stay-at-home-mom, Renee Glick, on EHT’s behalf, with TCSD’s approval, children throughout the K-12 Jackson Hole community are invited to participate in a poster and video contest highlighting how to use a cell phone safely, and why safe cell phone use is important. Winners from each grade in each school will receive a free headset to better protect themselves from the potential dangers of cell phone irradiation.
“Though the science is incomplete on this issue,” Barron’s letter continues, “given the extraordinary acceleration of cell phone use by our school children and the seeming social acceptance of placing this powerful tool next to our head, it is only prudent to address the issue at this time.”
The letter concludes, “As the saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
EHT founder, Teton Village resident Dr. Devra Davis, an internationally recognized leader on the science behind the dangers of cell phone irradiation, certainly concurs. Dr. Davis applauded the Jackson Town Council’s.leadership on the issue.
“Young people are particularly at risk from the dangers of cell phone irradiation,” Dr. Davis warned.
Author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, a groundbreaking, in depth investigation into the history and science concerning the dangers of cell phone irradiation, Davis was featured prominently in breaking national national news the day after the Council endorsed EHT’s schools campaign.
National media attention focused on new studies presented in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showing that cell phone radiation excites the brain. In the studies, a team of researchers, led by the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, psychiatrist Nora D.Volkow, found that just 50 minutes of cell phone radiation significantly affected brain function and metabolism of glucose—the brain’s main fuel—in those parts of the brain that received the most cell phone radiation.
Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., chair of EHT’s Board and a renowned cancer biologist and physician, indicated that this work offers an important clue about the ways that cell phone radiation can alter the brain and also shows why it is appropriate to take special precautions with cell phones today.
“This stunning report indicates that even short-term exposure to nerve cells from cell phones can increase glucose in the brain,” said Dr. Herberman. “We know that increased glucose also occurs with infections and other inflammatory processes, and leads to the production of potentially damaging reactive oxygen radicals that can alter the ways that cells and genes work. This important finding should stimulate many biologists to perform in-depth studies to determine the consequences of such changes in nerve cells or other bodily cells in the region of the radiation. We need to develop a better understanding of how radiofrequency radiation might contribute to increased risk for brain tumors as well as other alterations in brain functions.”
Dr. Davis advised that this new work, combined with previous studies carried out over the past three decades, documented in Disconnect, reinforces the need for revamping current approaches to cell phone safety, and strengthens the need for a major research program on cell phones and health, overhauling approaches to setting standards, and putting warnings on cell phones.
“The current study shows, along with other studies, that there are additional concerns related to cell phone use, besides tumors,” Dr. Davis warned. “Tumors are just the tip of the iceberg, but their development is preceded by years of other biological perturbations that have profound medical relevance—and this study confirms that significant biological changes occur after relatively brief exposures such as those that take place daily with the world’s five billion cell phones.”
Davis asked, “Could the stimulating impact of cell phone radiation to boost brain energy explain some of the growing addiction many of us feel for our phones? That is one of the many research questions that should be addressed.”
EHT is working with experts and governments across U.S. cities and states, and around the globe, to encourage a major independent research program on cell phones and simple precautionary policies in the meantime.
While that research is being carried out, EHT encourages simple precautions to reduce microwave radiation to the brain and body, now endorsed by a number of governments and experts around the world.
Phones should be used with headsets or speakerphones and not kept directly on the body, and children should take special care not to have direct exposures, EHT advises.
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.
“To conclude that cell phones are safe misreads the science and misleads the people. Dr. Davis cautions, “Therefore, until deﬁnitive scientiﬁc answers are available, the adoption of such precautions, particularly among young people, is advisable.”
About Environmental Health Trust
Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Current multi-media projects include: local and national campaigns to ban smoking and asbestos; working with international physician and worker safety groups to warn about the risks of inappropriate use of diagnostic radiation and cell phones, exploring what factors lie behind puzzlingly high rates of fibroid tumors, breast cancer and endometriosis in young African American women, and building environmental wellness programs in Wyoming and Pennsylvania to address the environmental impacts of energy development, the built environment and radon. EHT was created with the goal of promoting health and preventing disease one person, one community and one nation at a time. Capitalizing on growing public interest in Dr. Devra Lee Davis’s popular books, When Smoke Ran Like Water, a National Book Award Finalist, and The Secret History of the War on Cancer, and recent documentary films, the foundation’s website will become the go to place for clear, science-based information to prevent environmentally based disease and promote health, and will have portals for the general public, children, and health professionals.
Contact: Jeanne Ball (307) 690-3041
Environmental Health Trust