Cell phones emit a dangerous non-ionizing form of electromagnetic radiation; radiation which can be absorbed by the tissues and cells which come into close contact with the phone, e.g., the head and neck. Scientific studies in the past have produced conflicting results; however, more recent studies working with long term exposure, (ten years or more), have clearly established that a link between cell phone use and certain forms of cancer exists.
Drs. Lai and Singh (University of Washington) were the first to use the comet assay in rats to show DNA damage, double strand breaks, after being exposed to cell phone radiation. The comet assay is one of the most conclusive tests available to measure the fragmentation of DNA.
Their work coincides with the findings of Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy, MSc PhD, in The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields, from March 2012. Dr. Goldsworthy concludes that, “If similar DNA fragmentation were to occur in the whole organism, we would expect an increased risk of cancer, since essential genes that control cell division may be either damaged or lost.”
Current studies looking at the incidence of brain cancer are backing this up. Using the cell phone on a regular basis almost doubles the chance of adult brain cancers on the side of the head used for talking on the phone. Cancers are not just confined to the brain. Cancers of the parotid salivary gland and the thyroid gland, located in the neck, are on the rise too.
In 2009 on Capitol Hill, several well respected experts testified on the potential health effects for cell phone users (270 million), in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.
• Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health, National toxicology program, testified, “As of now, with only 10-12 years exposure, and use increasing dramatically, there is a concern of increase in brain cancer, related to use. Children have a configuration of the skull which allows deeper penetration of cell phone radiation with a potentially greater risk.”
• Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, Cancer and radiation epidemiology director of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, (Israel) conducted 10 years of research in this area and published findings in 2008 on the findings of salivary gland tumors with heavy usage. Dr. Sadetski saw consistent positive results and observed the tumors always appeared on the same side of the head where the phone was held.
• Dr. Devra Lee Davis, University of Pittsburgh, epidemiology professor, cited Dr. Leonard Hardell’s work in Sweden on heavy cell phone use before age 20. “As adults these subjects had 4-6 times more brain tumors by the time they reached their 30s. For younger people, the risk increases to five times more.” Dr. Davis goes on to testify, “If we tie in Dr. Lai and Dr. Singh’s work with the human studies of Dr. Sadetski and others that have looked at people who have ten years of exposure or more, we have strong evidence.”
• Dr. Davis also recommends holding a cell phone no closer than one inch to your body. Her suggestion comes straight out of the manual for the Blackberry and iPhone. “I am calling for warning labels. I am simply calling to codify what the industry is currently telling us about cell phones.”
A final consideration: Dr. Lai came to the conclusion that certain findings coincided with who was backing the study financially. Almost seventy percent of the studies sponsored outside the industry showed a connection between cell phone use and health complications while less than 30% of the studies sponsored by the cell phone industry reported similar findings.