.News Update 4/17/09

Mobile Phone Study Presents Global Public Health Threat

April 17, 2009

A newly published study by Dr. Vini Khurana, an Australian neurosurgeon, and four other medical professionals provides evidence that cell phone use is "an emerging global public health concern." The study is entitled "Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: A Review Including the Long-Term Epidemiologic Data" and was recently published in Surgical Neurology. www.brain-surgery.us/mobilephone.html It examines over 100 studies in order to answer the question: "Is there epidemiologic evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor?"

The authors state that long-term exposure to invisible electromagnetic radiation affects the brain and body in harmful ways and these effects are compounded by other waves that we are exposed to on a daily basis, including those from radio and television towers and wireless devices.

The electromagnetic radiation from cell phones can increase the risk for brain tumors by as much as two to four times. The incubation time can be as long as 10 to 20 years. The malignant and fatal effects are just now beginning to present themselves in an observable pattern.

The authors state that the type of phone does not make a difference with regard to exposure and that the "exposure is highest on the side of the head against which the cell phone is held and appears to be even higher in children owing to thinner scalps and skulls, increased water content of their brain, and lower brain volume."

Some governments have taken steps to regulate the risk. The European Parliament has set forth regulations based on another report exposing the risks of cell phone use. www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P6-TA-2009-0216+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN Regulations include moving transmitting towers, antennas and other electromagnetic emitting devices a specific distance away from schools, retirement homes and health institutions, as well as changing the direction of transmitting antennas in relation to living spaces. They are also requiring the labeling of the transmitting power of every wireless device. Other suggestions include an annual report on the level of electromagnetic radiation throughout the European Union and internet maps showing the exposure resulting from transmitting devices.

There are several ways to reduce your risk, such as using a land line in lieu of a cell phone, using the speakerphone, minimizing the time spent on calls and restricting the use of cell phones by children to only emergency situations.

Dr. Khurana stresses that the risks of prolonged or excessive cell phone use should not be ignored. He said, "[A]t this point in time, there's just over three billion users of cell phones worldwide. So that's half of or world population, or almost half. We've reached saturation points. For example, in Australia, there are 22 million cell phones and 21 million people. And the concern is not just brain tumors, but other health effects associated or reported to be associated with cell phones, including behavioral disturbances, salivary gland tumors, male infertility and microwave sickness syndrome. ... And with so many users and users starting at the age of three and up now, we should be concerned."

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