Home' LAPTOP Magazine : September 2011 Contents Union suggests
radiation can be
harmful to DNA.
The Mayo Clinic
phone use as
a possible risk
factor for acoustic
neuroma, a non-
that develops in
the inner ear. But a recent study out of Den-
mark published in the American Journal of
Epidemiology found that people who used a
cell phone for 11 to 15 years were no more
likely to develop an acoustic neuroma than
those who had never used a cell phone.
Of course, each study comes with the
familiar caveat that the findings aren’t
conclusive and that more research and
time are needed.
An article titled “Mobile Phones, Brain
Tumours and the Interphone Study: Where
Are We Now?” published in the July
2011 issue of the Environmental Health
Perspectives journal concluded that
the evidence is “against the hypothesis
that mobile phone use can cause brain
tumours in adults” while admitting that
there is some uncertainty. The article’s
authors based this conclusion on close
examination of the Interphone study, and
their main criterion for dismissing the
cancer/cell phone link was the meth-
odology, which the WHO has already
admitted is problematic.
The Wireless Industry: Too Much
Dr. Devra Davis, founder and president
of Environmental Health Trust, believes
that not enough attention is being paid
to studies that draw more conclusive links
between RF energy and adverse effects
on the body. She has also pointed out that
part of the funding for the Interphone study
was provided by wireless companies, and
she suspects that scientific data pointing
to the dangers of cell phone use is being
suppressed or unfairly maligned by the
The WHO has defended its use of money
from the wireless industry by noting that
a third-party organization served as a
buffer between the organization and the
study authors to avoid any influence.
In the end, Dr. Davis admits that we don’t
know the full extent of the danger right now.
And though the ACS, CDC, FCC, and FDA
all emphasize that the risks are unknown
and unproven, each agency offers advice
to consumers for minimizing their exposure
to RF energy.
Adults vs. Children
Cell phone manufacturers include warnings
in the (often-unread) user manuals that
advise consumers to use handsets at a
certain distance from the body. It should be
noted that every phone’s SAR rating is based
on tests that measure the RF absorbtion in
multiple scenarios, including when held
against the head. Phones cannot exceed
the FCC limit at any distance. However, the
SAR limit was established in 1996 and is
based on an “average” adult human body.
What about children?
A recent study published by the National
Cancer Institute suggests that cell phone
use doesn’t the increase cancer risk for
kids. When comparing the cell phone habits
of nearly 1,000 children and adolescents
between the ages of 7 and 19 in Western
Europe, researchers found that regular cell
phone users were no more likely to have
developed a brain tumor than those who
had never used a phone.
Because most study participants had
only been using cell phones for about four
years, some experts believe that this period
may not be sufficient to determine the risk of
cancer. As per usual, scientists recommend
The Confusion Continues
The amount of information on cell phones
and cancer is overwhelming and confusing.
Given all this data, what should consumers
do? “I suggest being prudent and erring on
the side of caution,” says Mark Huffman,
contributing editor at ConsumerAffairs.com.
“The unfortunate thing is that the studies
come out and they’re treated in the news
cycle. [Consumer advocates] probably do
need to step back and do a more compre-
hensive take on it.”
MYThs And FACTs
Whether you are ultra-concerned about RF
energy or just want to be cautious, there is a lot
of advice on how to protect yourself available.
But what’s really useful and what’s just hype?
don’t carry your phone in your pocket.
True. The farther away your phone is from
your body, the less RF energy will affect you.
Try carrying your phone in a bag or purse.
don’t sleep with the phone in bed with you
or nearby on a nightstand. Partly true. De-
pending on how far your nightstand is from
your bed, this may not be an issue. Sleeping
with the phone in your bed or right next to
your head will increase the amount of RF
energy you’re exposed to. If you’re concerned
but use your phone as an alarm, put it in
A phone with a lower sAR rating is better.
Partly true. All phones in the U.S. have a Spe-
cific Absorption Rate (SAR), “a measure of the
amount of radio frequency energy absorbed
by the body when using a mobile phone.”
The limit for public exposure from cell phones
is 1.6 watts per kilogram, and the specific
rating is based on the amount of RF energy it
emits when operating at maximum levels.
don’t use a Bluetooth headset.
The FCC notes that Bluetooth headsets also
emit radiation, but at a far lower rate than
cell phones. These headsets have a SAR of
only about .001 W/kg. The FCC and other
organizations suggest using a wired headset
for those concerned about even minute
don’t use your mobile phone when the
signal is weak. True. The RF energy emitted
by your phone is greater when the signal is
spend less time talking and more time
texting. True. This will also reduce the
amount of exposure.
Children shouldn’t use a cell phone
pressed to their ear. False. There’s no
conclusive data on kids and cell phones at
this time, but consumers worried about RF
exposure should encourage kids to be even
special cases can protect users from
cell phone radiation. False. The FCC warns
that “studies have shown that these devices
generally do not work as advertised. In fact,
they may actually increase RF absorption in
the head due to their potential to interfere
with proper operation of the phone...”
“To date, no adverse health effects have been
established as being caused by mobile phone use.”
—World Health Organization
dr. devra davis,
founder and president,
nEWs & TREnds
CEll PhonEs & CAnCER
Laptop | September 2011
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