Mercury News piece on cell phone safety
It is heartening to see the primary newspaper in Silicon Valley do a piece on cell phone safety (see below), but I can't help but notice that the mark was missed in a number of ways:
1.) The article never discusses the exponential increase in microwave radiation needed for internet data (not voice) that is required to operate all of the smart phones and applications that the Valley creates. AT&T announced 18 months ago that the amount of data on their network has increased by 800% because of smart phones. This means that every community has more cell phone towers emitting more microwave radiation 24/7. Cell phone towers will be one of the biggest long-term health issues related to this technology. Within a couple years, only the least informed among us will put a microwave emitting device to the head. However, all the tech-savvy hipsters will still want to download YouTube or run their business from their iPhone. This will increase the ambient microwave radiation in our communities exponentially - yet nobody is willing to contemplate this. Do you want a smoke stack operating around the clock in your back yard? Odds are, you already have one.
2.) The article never mentions second-hand radiation. If your Pong case is redirecting the radiation from your head (which I have my doubts about and would love to measure myself if anyone has a case), then it is going toward the head of the person sitting next to you on BART or at a restaurant: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=8621
3.) The incidence of brain tumors is indeed increasing: http://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/spike-brain-cancer-denmark
4.) The jury is not still out. The verdict is in and the Supreme Court has ruled that cell phones can cause brain cancer: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=8590
Of course, it was the Italian Supreme Court, just a few weeks ago. They actually looked at the independent science on the issue that shows how damaging this technology is. We will likely see similar rulings from a cascading number of countries around the world who are not dependent on the telecommunications industry for tax dollars and jobs.
Are mobile phones hazardous to your health?
By John Boudreau
It's one of the most contentious debate in tech -- are mobile phones
hazardous to your health?
At issue is whether the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones is
dangerous and even cancer-causing. The verdict is not in, and there are
conflicting scientific signals about the long-term risks to mobile-phone
But with more than 5 billion people using cellphones worldwide, the answer
to the medical and scientific conundrum has global ramifications.
"It's unimaginable today that people will give up cellphones," said Lloyd
Morgan, a retired Silicon Valley electrical engineer who is a senior
research fellow with the Environmental Health Trust, a nonprofit that
researches potential hazards of using mobile phones. His group advocates
taking steps to protect against radiation from mobile phones.
"I don't think you have to give up cellphones," he said. "But people have
to be educated."
Recent studies about potential dangers from mobile-phone radiation can be
puzzling if not disconcerting to consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration says that scientific data so far shows no
increased health risks from the use of mobile phones. Last year, a study
that looked at more than 300,000 cellphone-using Danes found no evidence
that using the device increased their risk of developing a brain tumor. But
the World Health Organization, after initially assuring the public that
there was no evidence of adverse health effects tied to cellphone use, reversed itself
in 2011 by putting mobile-phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard"
category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
And scientists at the National Institutes of Health last year reported that
research shows less than an hour of cellphone use can accelerate a person's
brain activity near the phone antenna, though scientists aren't sure if
that is harmful to users. Meanwhile, a San Francisco ordinance that would
force vendors of mobile phones to caution customers that the devices could
expose them to hazardous levels of radiation -- vigorously opposed by the
industry -- is tied up in federal court.
Though mobile devices have been around for decades, there is still no
evidence of an uptick in incidents of brain tumors around the world, said
Paul Graham Fisher, professor of neurology at Stanford University School of
"It's not an unreasonable concern," he said of worries about radiation from
mobile devices. "But right now there really isn't any evidence to say it's
While the science remains unsettled, cellphone users can take measures to
blunt potential hazards -- or at least give them peace of mind.
One group of electromagnetic radiation researchers recently developed a
line of smartphone cases with the brand name Pong that redirect 95 percent
of a smartphone's radiation away from a user's head. Their claims have been
validated by Cetecom, a lab in Milpitas certified by the Federal
Communications Commission to test cellphone radiation levels. While company
executives do not assert that mobile-device radiation can lead to brain
tumors, they say their own concerns about possible hazards led them to
develop the Pong cases.
A Pong case "reduces your exposure to radiation by redirecting and
redistributing the electromagnetic field that emits from cellphones," said
company Chief Technology Officer Ryan McCaughey, who was doing research in
cellphone radiation at UCLA before joining Pong. The company, which has six
radiation-reducing patents and 13 patents pending, sells cases for the
iPhone and iPad, as well as several Android and BlackBerry smartphones
through its website, www.pongresearch.com.
"Things like tumors and cancer take a long time to develop," McCaughey
said. "It's only recently that cellphone usage has become widespread. It
could be 10, 15 years before you start seeing the effects of it in the
general public. So we'd like to get ahead of it and reduce exposure before
it's too late."
McCaughey also said he never holds a mobile phone to his head while the
number he is calling continues to ring. "The highest radiation emission is
at the start of a call," he said.
Morgan advocates consumers change their mobile-device behavior much like
motorists over the years have embraced vehicle safety measures.
"We've learned to use cars in safer ways," he said. "Imagine if you didn't
have safety belts, air bags, dual cylinder breaks."
While Morgan praises the Pong case as an effective safety tool, he cautions
that it could give people a false sense of security. Whenever possible, he
said, users should keep devices away from their bodies. When people talk on
the phone with a headset, he suggests they place the phone as far away from
their bodies as possible. And they should not wear phones on their bodies
or let children sleep with them under their pillows, he said.
suggests that iPhone 5 users who want to reduce their exposure to the
device's radiation use a headset or speakerphone when taking a call, and
keep the iPhone "at least 10 mm (about 0.4 inches) away from your body."
For now, Stanford neurologist Fisher said he is more concerned with people
who talk or text on a mobile phone while driving than he is about radiation
from the device.
"Personally, I don't worry about it," he said of cellphone radiation. But,
the physician added, "For someone who is using it constantly, it would be
reasonable to use a Bluetooth (headset) and keep it at a distance."
Contact John Boudreau at 408-278-3496 ; follow him at Twitter.com/svwriter.
cellphone radiation safety Tips
The jury is still out about whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile
phones and wireless home phones pose health risks. For those concerned
about the potential dangers of using mobile devices, here are safety tips
provided by the Environmental Health Trust, a nonprofit that researches
hazards of using mobile phones, and Pong, a company that makes smartphone
cases that redirect radiation away from the heads of users.
1. When on a call, use a wired headset or speakerphone mode. Use a
Bluetooth headset, which emits a smaller amount of radiation, only when
talking. When not using the headset, keep it off your body.
2. Place the mobile phone away from your body when on a call.
3. Do not carry mobile phones in pockets of pants or in shirts or bras. Use
a belt holster designed to shield the body from radiation.
4. Avoid using a mobile phone in a moving car, train, bus or in rural areas
at some distance from a cell tower. Distance from a cell tower will
increase the cellphone's radiation output.
5. Turn the mobile phone off when you don't need to use it.
6. Use a corded landline phone instead of a wireless phone, which also
7. Avoid using mobile phones inside of buildings, particularly those with
steel structures, which increases the device's radiation output because
signals are not as strong.
8. Do not allow children, whose bodies are more vulnerable to absorbing
radiation, to sleep with a cellphone beneath their pillow or keep it at the
9. Do not allow children under 18 to use a mobile phone except in
10. When making a call, do not hold the phone to your ear until after the
person on the other line answers. The device emits more radiation before a
call goes through.