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After ten years studying the effects of regular cell phone usage on a control group of over 13 000 people all over the world, the prestigious International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) was unable to draw clear or meaningful conclusions regarding the potential health impacts of mobile devices.
As a health provider I am predisposed to being suspicious of this ubiquitous technology. In Victoria BC, like any other metropolitan city in the developed world, we are saturated with information carrying radio waves. Over the years I have noticed the presence of cell towers popping up everywhere on the urban landscape like weeds.
In the world there are more than 2 billion cell phones in use. Mobile phones exploded on the market in the late 1980s with virtually no safety testing thanks to a regulatory loop hole. Why should we be concerned? A cellular phone is basically a radio transmitter that sends signals on waves to a base station. The carrier signal generates a ‘near-field’ radiation plume (about 6” from the device) and a ‘far-field’ radiation plume. In areas dense with wireless devices these plumes combine to create what is known as electromagnetic smog.
Living organisms also generate electromagnetic fields at the cellular, tissue, and organism level known as a bio electric field. Transmitting waves used by cell phones oscillate at 1900 megahertz (MHz) in most phones, which is mostly harmless. However, information-carrying secondary waves used interpret voice or data in a hertz (Hz) range familiar to the body.
Our body recognizes the information-carrying waves as an “invader,” triggering in a defensive biochemical reaction that alters cell physiology. In essence our cells tighten up in response to this stressor, resulting intracellular free-radical buildup and a disruption of intercellular communication. The good stuff, like essential nutrients, can’t enter the cells and the bad stuff, namely toxins, can’t leave. This is a set up for serious health challenges like cancer.
I will be the first to admit this is a controversial theory. There are a number of European studies that point conclusively to the cellular damage caused by information carrying radio waves.
Thermographic imaging after 15 minutes of cell usages shows a rise in temperature of brain tissue around the ear. There are also just as many studies that refute this claim. Unfortunately, the IARC report does nothing to move this public health debate along. I should also mention that this study was partially funded by the cell phone industry.
Like the controversy around smoking in the 1950s it is unlikely for us to see any significant regulatory changes in cell phone use anytime soon. Until then it is up to the individual to make informed choices on how much they are willing to expose themselves or their family to this potential hazard.
As an acupuncturist, someone who works with the bio-electric field of the body daily, electro- magnetic smog is a grave concern for me. Acupuncture can boast your vital energy but the best way to protect your field and guard against cell damage is following these suggestions:
- Limit the time spent on cell phones – Using the speaker mode on the phone or texting are better options (unless you are driving!)
- Keep cell phones out of the hands of your kids for as long as possible – studies have shown that EMF penetrates easier through young skulls. This factor makes cell use particularly harmful for developing brains.
- Avoid smart phones – devices like the iphone act as base stations continually transmitting data even when the phone is shut off. When you are not using the phone put it in airplane mode to correct this.
- Avoid using wireless Internet connections in your home – the same concerns apply to wireless modems. In fact the problems are compounded due to the fact that these modems are more powerful and transmitting 24 hours a day in your living space.
- Use a Blue Tube headset when talking for long periods on a cell. These headsets have an acoustic tube that acts as a break preventing electro magnetic radiation from being channeled up to the ear bud.
- Use a static-field diode on your cell – This is a thin mineral plate that sticks to the back of the phones battery case and converts harmful radiation to a bio-compatible field.