Supporters of a Maine bill which would require cell phone manufacturers to put warning labels on mobile phones say that ignoring the health risks of heavy cell phone use invites a cancer epidemic.

David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany, argued, "We can do nothing and wait for the body count."

The bill would make Maine the first state to mandate warnings that cell phones can cause brain cancer, especially among children.

Sources:

Google News March 3, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments

Time will tell if Maine will rise to the challenge and become the first US state to mandate warning labels on cell phones. Sponsored by democratic Rep. Andrea Boland, the bill, HP 1207/LD 1706, also known as "An Act to Create the Children's Wireless Protection Act," was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services on January 7 of this year.

It has created some national news, and for good reason. It's a highly controversial issue, and vehemently opposed by the wireless industry who, ironically, claims the bill is little more than political grandstanding and has no scientific basis.

The Scientific Basis of Cell Phone Warnings

Despite industry's reluctance to admit the scientific basis of placing a prominent warning on every cell phone sold, the legislation was indeed prompted by such scientific findings.

I've reported on a number of them in the past, such as:
  • A study by Dr. Siegal Sadetzki linking cell phone use to salivary gland tumors
  • Wearing a cell phone on your hip - either on your belt or in a pocket - has been linked to decreased bone density in the pelvic region. (All the other vital organs located in your pelvic region - your liver, kidney, bladder, colon and reproductive organs - are also susceptible to radiation damage)
  • Proximity to cell phone towers causes an increase in the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, visual and auditory disturbances, and cardiovascular effects
  • The REFLEX report, which concluded there is real evidence that non-thermal hyperfrequency electromagnetic fields can have geno-toxic effects and can damage DNA, which is an underlying cause of cancer
  • The BioInitiative Report, which includes studies showing evidence for:
  • Effects on Gene and Protein Expression (Transcriptomic and Proteomic Research)
  • Genotoxic Effects - RFR and ELF DNA Damage
  • Stress Response (Stress Proteins)
  • Effects on Immune Function
  • Effects on Neurology and Behavior
  • Brain Tumors, Acoustic Neuromas, and childhood cancers like leukemia

The 2009 special EMF issue of the Journal of Pathophysiology, which contains over a dozen different studies on the health effects of electromagnetic fields and wireless technology

In addition, a review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology revealed that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.

Another noted brain cancer authority, Australian Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana, published a paper in 2008 titled: Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors, which also covers more than 100 sources of recent medical and scientific literature on this topic.

Are We Headed Toward a Brain Cancer Epidemic?

It should be noted that while there are a significant number of studies showing the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies within the microwave range, the industry claims that since these technologies do not have a thermal (heating) effect on your body, they will not cause biological harm.

Alas, there are literally thousands of studies showing that this logic is incorrect. I've barely scratched the surface with the examples I listed above.

Clearly, to claim there is NO evidence of harm from cell phones and other non-thermal radiation is ludicrous at this point.

In addition, real-life is starting to show us the truth. Australia, for example, has seen an increase in pediatric brain cancers of 21 percent in just one decade.

This is consistent with studies showing a 40 percent brain tumor increase across the board in Europe and the U.K. over the last 20 years. In fact, brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer killer in children.

If you still have doubts, I highly recommend reading the book Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution, written by Camilla Rees and Magda Havas, PhD., to get a better understanding of the facts on this important issue.

What Would the Warning Label Say?

Boland's bill calls for the following statement to be prominently placed on every cell phone and all related packaging, on a non-removable label:
"Warning, this device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body."
In addition, the bill, as currently written, requires the label to include the color graphic showing the electromagnetic absorption of a 5-year old child's brain, as depicted in a 1996 study published by the IEEE on the effect of cell phone microwave emissions on the neck and head.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

I strongly urge you not to wait for legislation to be passed before you start paying attention to this issue.

And while you can't completely avoid radiation in today's wireless world, if you're ready to give up your cell phone, you can virtually eliminate that one hazard, at least.

At the bare minimum, don't let young children use a cell phone or other wireless devices, and avoid cell phone exposure while pregnant or carrying your infant as children are FAR more susceptible to harm from microwave radiation than adults.

If you're not prepared to ditch your cell phone, you can at least minimize exposure by heeding the following advice:
  • Reduce your cell phone use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
  • Use a land line at home and at work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
  • Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

    If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.

    Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters will not be of much use). You can find meters at emfsafetystore.com.

    As a general rule of thumb, you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
  • Use your cell phone only where reception is good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

    Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag.
  • Don't assume one cell phone is safer than another: Please understand that despite assurances, there's still no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.

    For example, SAR value, while providing information for comparison purposes between phones, is very limited in its usefulness as a measure of 'safety.' For more details on SAR values, please review this previous article.
  • Keep your cell phone away from your body when it's on: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
  • Use safer headset technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
  • Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.
  • The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
Personally, I believe this issue is so important, I've created an entire web site dedicated to EMF education and information. Feel free to bookmark EMF.mercola.com, and check back on occasion for the latest news and updates.

The Web site ElectromagneticHealth.org also offers ten free audio interviews with some of the world's leading experts in the field of EMF.