Fall 2011 Issue… back to Fall Issue page
SAFER CELL PHONE USE
by Carol Vracarich
Now that even the World Health Organization (WHO) has come forward with information that cautions about our use of cell phones, we can move on to what we should be doing about it. Obviously, we are not all going to put our cell phones in the drawer. Our lives and society and those of billions of people around the world are wrapped around this technological marvel. But what can we do to prevent the "possible carcinogen," as cellphone radiation has been labeled by the WHO, from producing brain and eye cancers and other brain and body damage?
1. Don’t let children use cell phones. See those adorable kids on the opposite page? Their brains are most at risk from cellphone radio frequency (RF) because their skulls are thin and their brains hold more fluid than adults, or even older children. Cell phone radiation penetrates much further into a child’s brain, compared to an adult brain. Yet today, children even as small as those on the facing page, can often be seen playing with cell phones. So, parents, while the phone might be a great pacifier, it should be turned off when in the hands of little ones.
What about older kids? Today’s children are spending many minutes a day using a cell phone, their own or their parents’. In fact, children’s use often greatly outpaces that of older people, with a recent estimate of average use for kids of 2600 minutes, or over 43 hours, per month. It’s reported that kids even put their cell phones under their pillows at night so they can hear a text coming in. Parents may feel their kids are safer, because they can keep in frequent communication with them. We can relate to this concern. But the kids’ real safety is jeopardized when it comes to their health. We just don’t know yet how much radiation is too much. And we can’t afford to let children be the guinea pigs for the next several decades in order to find out, can we?
2. Keep the radiation issue in mind when purchasing a phone. My family bought phones with lower SAR (specific absorption rate) ratings because we thought they were safer. However, the SAR rating has to do with how much heat is generated, not how much radiation the cell phone produces. Although cell phones don’t produce "ionizing" radiation (that breaks chemical bonds) to cause mutations in DNA, recent research suggests that the damaging effect is not just from tissue "heating," but from the actual microwave radiofrequency and the modulating low frequencies that interact with brain cells. Dr. Mercola, www.mercola.com, notes that phones that emit a pulsed radiation (GSM) are 28 times more dangerous than those that emit a continuous radiation (CDMA). Phones from carriers AT&T and T-mobile emit GSM radiation, while those from Sprint and Verizon emit CDMA radiation. Contact your carrier to find out which kind of phones they sell.
3. Carry your cell phone facing away from your body, in a purse or backpack, and not in a pocket or holster next to any part of your body. Men, once you get used to carrying your stuff in a bag, you’ll never want to go without.
There are also shielded cases made by Pong for iPhone and Blackberry (pongresearch.com). For those of us with a different phone, the pickings seem slim. A search of anti-radiation phone cases on Google produced some obviously questionable items and sources, so caution is in order. Another alternative is to make your own phone pouch from a specially-made RF-shielding fabric available at www.emfsafetystore.com/#fabric. Hmmm, will let you know if we try that…
4. Use the speaker phone function on your phone. Keep it well away from the body, not the half inch or so that the phone company recommends, but a minimum of six inches.
5. Turn the phone off when not in use. All the way off.
6. Use your landline phone if you have one. And sorry to report, the cordless phones many of us find handy to use around the house and office also emit radiation. If we use a cordless phone, it should be one that operates at 900 MHz, which at least won’t be obsessively broadcasting even when we’re not on it. At home, place the base station away from bedroom areas.
7. Text (not while driving!) instead of talking, since less radiation is involved.
8. Use the phone only where you have good reception. Your phone has to produce more radiation to broadcast in a location where you don’t have enough bars showing.
9. Use a headset, but not just any headset. The Bluetooth that clips on the ear may generate less radiation to your head/eye area, but it is still broadcasting directly to/from your ear. The wired headsets act like an antenna, allowing radiation, albeit at a lower level, to travel up the wire and directly into your ear/brain. I have both the Bluetooth and the wired headsets on a shelf; I don’t even want to give them away to some other unsuspecting person. At this writing, an air tube headset appears to be the way to go.
The air tube headset has partly replaced the wire used in typical headsets with an air-filled wireless tube. Similar to a stethoscope, sound waves go through the air tube into the ear bud of the user. This way the wire can be kept away from the body.
Reader Gerald D. Williams, Ph.D., has been using an air tube headset for his cell and cordless phones for over ten years. He feels that the air tube headset makes the phones totally safe. He recommends a "hook" model with an EMF shield which, he says, cancels some of the bad carrier frequencies that are believed to resonate with biological function. The air tube set he uses comes with 2.5mm and 3.5mm jacks and can be seen at www.lifebluetube.com.
Additional sources of air tube headsets can be found by a Google search. The Blue Tube headset is available from a Networker favorite website and the source of some of this article’s information, www.mercola.com.
Dr. Williams notes that ten years ago air tube headsets were readily available, but today that isn’t the case. He believes that cell phone manufacturers should be required to include these type of headsets with the phones.
While our attention is drawn to the safety of cell phones, it is dawning on many of us that RF is the same type of radiation emitted by the router on my desk, the baby monitor we gave to a friend, all the cell towers that have sprung up everywhere, the WiFi coffeehouses. The amount of RF involved with these sources differs, but adding all together, it makes for a wired home and environment. And this doesn’t begin to describe the electromagnetic world we live in today.
Our world is changing rapidly, faster than we can keep pace with what is new and unexamined, but is already a pervasive component of our environment. We believe our government can do more to protect citizens from the effects of radio frequencies and electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). It is of utmost concern that the children be protected from this source of potential brain damage and cancers. The U.S. lags behind a number of other countries which have advised their citizens about potential cell phone RF dangers, especially for children.
With 5 billion people using cell phones on this planet, we can’t put off a search for answers to the many uncertainties the technologies have brought.
As always, articles are presented in this magazine for informational purposes only. The Networker receives no benefits nor provides any assurances regarding the research, technology or equipment discussed. Our interest is in finding ways to reduce our own and others’ bodily exposure to radiation from cell phones and other sources.
Sources include: www.emfnews.org; www.mercola.com; www.lifebluetube.com; www.ewg.com; www.cnetnews.com; cnetreviews.com; www.NewYorkTimes.com; WashingtonPost.com. www.environmentalhealthtrust.org.
Interview with Sanjay Gupta, the first mainstream media medical reporter to initiate his own investigation into cell phone dangers. www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones.
"Modeling Mobile Phone Radiation Absorption into the Brain of Children and Adults," by Om P. Gandhi, Ph.D., Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Utah. http://www.environmentalhealthtrust.org [pdf].
Many thanks to Gerald Williams Ph.D. for his inspiration and knowledge about this topic!