The Enigma of Cell Phone Safety

By Dr. Mercola

Most conventional experts don’t view cell phone exposure as a problem, mainly because they only look at one component of cell phone safety.

Their focus is on the thermal effects of cell phones and how your body absorbs the radiofrequency energy. The industry insists that because the energy of the fields is too low to cause heating of tissues, it can’t have any biological effect.

These thermal or tissue heating effects are measured and assigned a rating known as SAR, which stands for Specific Absorption Rate.

SAR Ratings
Industry suggests you compare SAR ratings, but the numbers are meaningless
When buying a wireless phone, the industry suggests you compare ratings and purchase one with a lower rating.

Please understand that the SAR rating by itself is virtually worthless.

The SAR level only estimates the heat from the radiation penetrating into your head from a cell phone – just ONE component of concern!

The SAR level does not measure the risk from the frequencies of the cell phone, the erratic pulsing and modulation of the signals, or the magnetic fields created by the batteries.

Scientists now know that many of the effects from cell phones are non-thermal. In other words, they occur at levels too low to cause significant heating to tissues.

What You Need to Know About Cell Phone Radiation

The frequency of a cell phone’s waves falls between those emitted by FM radios and those from microwave ovens, all of which are considered “non-ionizing” forms of radiation.

When you make a call, text, or use data on your cell phone, here’s what happens:

Your phone sends radiofrequency, or RF waves from its antenna to nearby cell towers, and receives RF waves in return to its antenna.

If you are holding the phone next to your face, as most people do, then about 70 percent of the energy from the antenna is absorbed straight into your head.

As you can see from the diagram below, age makes a difference in how much of this energy can be absorbed into the tissue. A younger child’s skull is much thinner than an adult’s and still developing, therefore more radiation is able to penetrate the brain.

It’s not until around age 20 that your brain is fully developed.

These visual images should serve as a powerful reminder to parents that it’s never a good idea to allow a child to talk on a cell phone held close to the head!

Mobile Phone Radiation

As you move your cell phone away from your head, this radiation decreases rapidly. So, clearly, the further away from your body you can keep your phone, the better.

Incidentally, the manufacturer of one of the top-selling cell phones advises against direct body contact with their phones. This is what they say right on their website:

“To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories. Carry phone at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.”
One of the most important bits of advice I can give you is to avoid holding your phone directly against your head, especially while your call connects—which is when the power surge is greatest.

Using your speakerphone function or a safe headset to keep your phone a safe distance away from your body is a much better option.

But Why Does the Wireless Industry Still Insist Cell Phones Are Safe?

You can search online and find study after study that says cell phone usage is safe. The wireless industry claims that thousands of studies have failed to pinpoint adverse effects.

But, is that really true?

First you need to dig deep and find out who funded the study. If it’s an industry-funded study, the results presented are just about guaranteed to favor the industry. Why would they publish results that didn’t?

But just because countless studies might conclude “no risk found,” it doesn’t mean those were the real scientific findings of the investigation!

Cell Phone Safe?
The earlier one starts using cell phones, the more harmful its potential effects can be
Dr. Henry Lai, a University of Washington scientist in cellular and molecular engineering, reviewed 85 papers on the DNA-damaging effects of cell phone radiation. He and his colleague had found from their own research that cell phone radiation could cause DNA damage in brain cells.

What did he find when he took a closer look at these studies?

A whopping three-fourths of the papers that showed no toxic effects were funded either by the wireless industry or the military. Eighty percent of those that showed potential negative effects were not linked to the industry.

Even Time reported:

Independent studies on cell phone radiation found dangers at more than twice the rate of industry-funded studies.

We’re talking about a very lucrative industry here… The total revenue of the U.S. mobile wireless industry is over $171 billion!

Could it be that the wireless industry may be twisting science just enough to dodge or at least postpone regulation? They do have a lot at stake…

The 2011 Ruling That Delivered a Major Blow to the Wireless Industry

As cell phone usage around the world expands, evidence continues to mount against their safety, even though the industry still insists cell phones are safe.

Possibly the biggest blow to the industry came in 2011 when the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Class B carcinogen.

This classification puts cell phones squarely in the same category of certain pesticides and heavy metals as well as engine exhaust.

But that’s not all… There are now more than 20,000 publications in the scientific literature that show significant biological effects at exposures well within safety standards, including about 4,000 that include non-thermal effects.

How Cell Phones Impact Your Cells’ Energy Centers – Your Mitochondria

Mitochondria Cell Phones Impact
Cell phones have been shown to harm your cells’ mitochondria
Your body uses electrical fields to communicate between your cells. The electromagnetic fields emitted by the phones are far more damaging to your body because they interfere with your body’s own cellular communication.

Another major way cell phones can potentially impact you is through their effect on your mitochondria within your cells.

Most of your cells have several hundred mitochondria. Over 90% of the energy that your body needs to function properly comes from the mitochondria, so their well-being is essential to your energy production.

Not only are they your body’s primary source of energy, your cells’ mitochondria determine the speed at which your body ages. If your mitochondria are working optimally, your body ages at a normal rate.

Researchers have discovered that the radiation from cell phones can harm your mitochondria, including flipping certain genes within the mitochondria.

As important as your mitochondria are to your health, this potential damaging effect on genes is very concerning to me.

Is the Newest Technology Any Safer?

Industry tries to assure us that third and fourth generation cell phones are safer in terms of non-ionizing radiation.

But are they really?

There’s no proof that 3G or 4G is any safer, and if anything, the preliminary research suggests they may be even less safe.

Here’s the problem…

Today’s standards for radiofrequency emissions weren’t designed for cell phones.

Rather, the current federal standards were developed to guard against thermal effects, but remember, as I explained above, that’s not the issue. As we’ve already seen, most of the studies on cell phones show non-thermal effects.

What’s worrisome now is that evidence is suggesting exposure to cell phone radiation can have biological effects without raising temperature.

Radio frequency waves from cell phones have also been shown to produce “stress” proteins in human cells, proteins that the body produces for self-protection.

I agree that getting rid of your cell phone is probably not an option these days. Today’s cell phones are much more than phones – they’re often your camera, video recorder, hand-held computer, and your lifeline to staying in touch with your work and family.

But with all this distressing data and questionable research, there must be something we can do to help minimize exposure. I believe there is…

How to Minimize Cell Phone Radiation Emissions

Cell Phone Dangers while driving
Not only is direct cell phone contact dangerous, using one while you drive is like driving impaired
So what can you do to make cell phone usage safer for yourself and your family?

First and foremost, I recommend you consider not allowing your child or pre-teen to have a cell phone.

For teens, I encourage you to educate them on the dangers of holding or storing a cell phone close to their bodies and to remind them to use a safe headset if they need to make a call.

And, no one should ever use one while driving, including texting.

Here are some additional suggestions for minimizing your exposure to cell phone radiation:

Reduce your cell phone usage. Turn your phone off when you don’t need it.
Use your cell phone on speakerphone whenever possible. Avoiding contact with your head is the most important safeguard you can take.
Keep your phone as far away from your body as possible. There’s a significant drop-off in radiation exposure for every inch your phone is away from your body. Don’t stow your cell phone in your pocket!
Don’t place your phone against your head while the call is connecting. This is when your phone is sending out its strongest signal and you don’t want this surge of radiation penetrating your head!
Use a landline at home and at work. Just because everyone else goes cordless, you don’t need to.
Avoid using your cell phone if reception is poor. The weaker the reception, the more power your phone uses to transmit, and the more exposure you receive.
Limit cell phone use in your car. The metal parts of your car – the roof, doors, and chassis can magnify the radiation. Plus your phone has to work harder and increase its transmitting strength as you travel between cell towers.
If you must make a call unprotected, limit it to less than two minutes. Radiation exposure is dose-related. The longer you spend on your phone, the more potentially harmful microwave radiation you’re exposed to.
Use low power Bluetooth® technology or a headset to keep your phone away from your body. But just remember that if you use your Bluetooth® or headset a lot, you are still exposed to radiation right near your head.
For the ultimate in safety, use an air tube headset that’s specially designed to reduce cell phone radiation. In just a minute, I’ll tell you about the one I use.

Why I’ll Only Use a Headset That’s Specially Designed to Reduce Radiation

Before I carefully studied this issue, I used my cell phone regularly and thought my off-the-shelf headset protected me from my phone’s emissions.

However, I soon discovered that:

Cell phones emit a radiation plume.

Most cell phone headsets have a wire that can act like an antenna and magnify the radiation emissions.
The wireless industry – and the government – is suppressing a great deal of scientific data to protect multi-billion dollar profits.
And then I saw this alarming evidence… Through the use of thermographic imaging, scientists can see the changes take place inside your brain when you use a cell phone directly against your head.

Instead of seeing “cool” blues and greens that are present in your brain when you’re not exposed to cell phone radiation, scientists saw reds, yellows and oranges which graphically display internal heating of your tissues and cells after only 15 minutes of cell phone use.

Until recently, scientists believed that these changes and cell phone-related interference with brain waves and brain chemistry ended when the call ended. Now they know it can last for up to an hour.

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