14/01/09 Mobile Phones “More Dangerous Than Smoking”

Can it be that experts have finally decided that smoking isn’t the biggest killer after all?  Once may hope, and it does seem medical opinions are finally coming around to the fact that mobile phones pose a significant hazard to one’s health.

Because mobile phones are a relatively new technology, and with them only becoming hugely successful in recent years, the possible consequences are pretty much unknown.  Given the consensus that it takes up to ten years to develop cancer, long term studies have shown mobile phones have little to no effect on health or disease onset, but these may be inaccurate because they haven’t been going on for ten years or more.

In an article in the Independent, March 30th 2008 [1], we are told

 

“using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.”

 

Dr Vini Khurana, a top neurosurgeon who has won 14 awards in 16 years, has published over 36 scientific papers, and has reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones, and states “there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours”

“We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and dangerous situation.” He fears that “unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps” we will see a global epidemic of brain tumours within the next decade.

“It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking,” he says, who told the IoS his assessment is partly based on the fact that three billion people now use the phones worldwide, three times as many as smoke.

Curiously, the article states that “Smoking kills some five million worldwide each year”, with no reference.  5 million a year is a bold statement, and a far cry from the 6 million deaths in the past century that we are used to hearing.

Anyway, back to mobile phones.  Dr Khurana is not the only researcher to note the pending dangers of mobiles.  New Scientist, February 2008, [2] speaks of a study conducted to examine the effects of mobile phone radiation on cells.  They screened 580 different proteins in their skin cells and found that the numbers of two proteins were altered in all of the volunteers: one protein increased by 89 percent, the other decreased by 32 percent.  These results show that the radiation from mobile phones produces molecular level changes.

Dr Mercola wrote on March 18th 2008 in his newsletter:

 

“We believe the biological damage comes both from the modulated signals that are carried ON the carrier microwave and the carrier wave itself. However, they do their damage by two entirely different mechanisms. These modulated information-carrying radio waves resonate in biological frequencies of a few to a few hundred cycles per second, and can stimulate your cellular receptors causing a whole cascade of pathological consequences that can culminate in fatigue, anxiety and ultimately cancers.”


And to give an indication of just how big the mobile phone industry now is, it took twenty years, from 1984 to 2004, to sell one billion mobiles, just 18 months to sell a second billion, a further reduction to 9 months for the third billion, and, staggeringly, only six months to sell the fourth billion.

A lot of people reject the idea that mobile phones are dangerous because the frequency is too low.  Well, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – and here is that picture:

The picture is from a June 2003 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives [3] and shows the neuron damage caused by mobile phone radiation.  The top photo shows the control rat’s brain, which was not exposed to radiation and is how a healthy brain should look.  The bottom photo is the brain of a rat after two hours of GSM mobile phone radiation in various intensities.  The dark patches are proteins that leaked through the blood-brain barrier, which caused significant neuronal damage in the cortex, hippocampus and basal ganglia.

The authors stated:

 

“The situation of the growing brain might deserve special concern, since biological and maturational processes are particularly vulnerable. We cannot exclude that after some decades of often daily use, a whole generation of users may suffer negative effects as early as middle age.”


So then what becomes apparent is there is real scientific data showing not only that mobile phone radiation causes damage, but how it causes the damage.  Sadly, this has been known for many years, with the above photos being almost 6 years old now, and the Independent article being almost one year old.  Still, we can take solace in the knowledge that medical opinion is changing.  I’m not advocating that we eradicate mobile phones, not by any stretch, but what I do hope is that we reach a point where we, the public, are objectively informed of all relevant and important information so we can make our own decisions – without government interference of enforcing bans.  It is socially unacceptable for us to only be bombarded with messages of how smoking causes this and that, but for other areas to be entirely ignored or given the bare minimum of coverage.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/mobile-phones-more-dangerous-than-smoking-802602.html

[2] http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726443.800-cellphone-radiation-affects-cells-in-living-humans.html

[3] http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1241519&blobtype=pdf

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