A new report notes that childhood brain cancer in the U.S. is now the leading killer disease in that age group. It's time to look harder at cellphone risks.
When we wrote an article about electromagnetic field hazards a few years ago, it became one of our most read stories ever, attracting thousands of readers every month from all over the world. Yet despite occasional alarms about possible health risks, little has been done to regulate that industry, or to warn kids about what may be a deadly, ubiquitous health hazard.
What we do know is that brain cancer rates among kids have increased over the last 15 years, coincident with the rise of cellphone culture. Children are classifed as anyone 0-19 years old. The incidence rate of childhood malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors in the U.S. is 5.3 cases per 100,000, or about 16,000 tumors every year.
But reports on childhood cancer have been notably silent, or dismissive, on the connection between brain cancer and radiofrequency from our many portable devices. For example, here's the National Cancer Institute:
Most cancers in children, like those in adults, are thought to develop as a result of mutations in genes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth and eventually cancer. In adults, these gene mutations are often the result of exposure to environmental factors, such as cigarette smoke, asbestos, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, environmental causes of childhood cancer have been difficult to identify, partly because cancer in children is rare, and partly because it is difficult to determine what children might have been exposed to early in their development.
This article goes on to note other possible causes with NO MENTION OF CELLPHONES.
Many studies have shown that exposure to ionizing radiation can damage DNA, which can lead to the development of childhood leukemia and possibly other cancers. For example, children and adolescents who were exposed to radiation from the World War II atomic bomb blasts had an elevated risk of leukemia (10), and children and adults who were exposed to radiation from accidents at nuclear power plants had an elevated risk for thyroid cancer (11). Children whose mothers had x-rays during pregnancy (that is, children who were exposed before birth) and children who were exposed after birth to diagnostic medical radiation from computed tomography scans also have an increased risk of some cancers (12).
Studies of other possible environmental risk factors, including parental exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, prenatal exposure to pesticides, childhood exposure to common infectious agents, and living near a nuclear power plant, have so far produced mixed results.
The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services has a major study of cellphone effects underway. They're using rats, as is the common procedure, and the study, so far, has found some link to tumors in males exposed to radiofrequency, none in females. The Food and Drug administration, mirroring other "official" bodies, seems to have little concern about cellphone risks.
If there is a risk from being exposed to radiofrequency energy (RF) from cell phones--and at this point we do not know that there is--it is probably very small. But if you are concerned about avoiding even potential risks, you can take a few simple steps to minimize your RF exposure.
They go on to list several steps you can take, including holding the phone further from your head, or wearing a wired headset. Pardon my skepticism, but like many of you, I hesitate whenever the government issues the "all clear" on any health threat. We all remember--and regret--listening to the EPA when told us that the air at the Ground Zero a the 9/11 attack site was safe to breathe. A similar situation is playing out with the Zika virus. Officials are basically stumbling around in the dark, adding new risks, In Miami, for example, officialssprayed a pesticide that may be as bad as Zika in its impacts on unborn children.
My friend and neighbor across the street died suddenly a few months ago, when his brain cancer came roaring back. Call it anecdote, or coincidence, but he LIVED on his cellphone. Blasting your head with RF and heat all day and all evening for years can't be good for your brain, no matter what a couple of studies of lab rats may indicate.
The fact that we can't demonstrate a strong correlation between cellphone use and childhood cancer isn't a reason to continue using tham AS IF there is no risk. Cigarettes became popular at the turn of the 20th Century, but their link to the lung cancer epidemic wasn't acknowledged until the 1940s. A new report found that although fossil fuel companies have denied their product's connection to Climate Change almost until the present day, Exxon knew about the problem 40 years ago. Perhaps that's what it takes to get to the truth of a dangerous technology: 40 years. Well guess what, the cellphone recently turned 40.
Maybe it's time for this industry which has amassed such fortunes with its products, to make a serious effort at getting to the bottom of cellphone's cancer linkage. If there is a link, and I believe there is, they'll have the knowledge needed to shield, change and otherwise adjust the products to protect both children and adults. It's just the right and necessary thing to do.