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The Case Against Cell Phones

By Jaxon Matthews

Can we trust big business with our health? The business of business is to make money. Big business does not really care about the consumer except as customers. Just think about the tobacco companies: did they or do they really care about people other than as consumers of their product? I do not perceive the telecommunications companies as being any better than the tobacco industry; they are in it for the profit.

In 1993, to its credit, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association hired an independent scientist, Dr. George Carlo, to investigate the issue of cell phone safety. Dr. Carlo was an industry insider and he headed a $25 million dollar research project, even though the industry claimed that thousands of studies had already proven the safety of cell phones.

Dr. Carlo, who is a public health scientist, epidemiologist, lawyer, founder of Health Risk Management Group and author, with Martin Schram author of Cell Phones – Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age, decided that he wanted to learn the truth about cell phones. Did they pose health risks?

Dr. Carlo ran the cell p[hone industry’s research project for six years at which time he quit. His conscience would not allow him to continue because he knew all was not well. His research findings were turning up disturbing information about the microwaves from cellular devices such as those caused by mobile phone technology.

During the early years of the project when no cancer or other health problems were found, Dr. Carlo’s relations with the industry were fairly tranquil. Later on after Dr. Carlo’s studies became more sophisticated due to better test methods, and it became evident that microwave radiation from cell phones could lead to brain tumors and other adverse health effects, Dr. Carlo was ostracized in public, his funding was cut and he was discredited in private.

The FDA, which does regulate microwave ovens, has declined to become involved in the regulation of cell phones. Why is this? Robert C. Kane claims that cell phones expose users to much higher levels of radiation than they receive from microwave ovens. In his book Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette – A Historical and Scientific Perspective, Kane says that there have been literally hundreds of scientific studies which call into question the use of cell phones but the industry has not only not publicized these studies but his either ignored them, discounted their importance or covered them up!

Kane’s book contains numerous references to research findings as reported in such professional journals as Proceedings of the IEEE, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, IEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, Microwave News, Bio-electromagnetics, Radio Science, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and numerous others.

According to the research results Kane includes in his book, heat from microwave radiation penetrates the skull and the effects reach deeply into brain tissue. However, because brain tissue does not transmit sensory data, that is, the brain does not possess any appreciable sensory capability, the phone user is not aware that damage is occurring.

Portable phones were exempted from safety requirements including SAR or specific absorption rates. Different phone configurations transmit different amounts of radiation. Some antennas transfer as much as ninety percent of their radiation to the head of the user. A further troubling finding is the fact that due to factors such as the shape of the human head, “hot spots” of focused microwave energy occur within the brain.

Roger Coghill, a specialist in bio-electromagnetics, thinks cell phones should carry health warnings and he wonders why the cell phone manufacturers did not fund research into the electromagnetic effects of their products. As we now know, they did fund research until negative results began to appear. Then funding was curtailed or ended.

When questioned, industry representatives claimed that results were inconclusive and more research was needed before any definitive results could be established. However, the cell phone industry has never come foreward with any further research information concerning health hazards.

If cell phones were pharmaceutical products they would have been required to be pre-tested according to Coghill. However, his opinion is that despite evidence that cell phones are detrimental to human health, he does not believe that everyone who uses them are at serious health risk, especially if they restrict their usage to less than 10 minutes per day. People, however, should be aware of the effects of long-term usage. Evidently some people are more sensitive to the radiation. His opinion is that contact should be limited as much as possible until further studies can be done.

Microwave radiation from cell phone – wireless technology has been shown to cause cancer; alter or lower immune function, including the degradation of white blood cells; lower the blood brain barrier; affect sleep patterns, due evidently, to altering serotonin-melatonin balance; damage DNA and possibly cause memory loss.