Posted by: Khepera | Friday, 5 September 2008

Cell Phones & Cancer: What they won’t say…+ addendum

Many years ago, a colleague of mine who worked for Underwriter’s Laboratories — a global product compliance/safety assurance organization — would have extended conversations about cell phones & microwave technology, its safety challenges, and even its history, going back to its decommissioning after WWII. In this age of the Internet you would think you could find any information, yet much of the info he sent me in hard copy I could not find on the net prior to posting this entry.

Nonetheless, in the past week, a series of scientists in government and out have made incisive statements on links between the electromagnetic fields associated with microwave devices — specifically cell phones — and propensities for disease. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute made some significant remarks:

Recently I have become aware of the growing body of literature linking long-term cell phone use to possible adverse health effects including cancer. Although the evidence is still controversial, I am convinced that there are sufficient data to warrant issuing an advisory to share some precautionary advice on cell phone use.

An international expert panel of pathologists, oncologists and public health specialists recently declared that electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones should be considered a potential human health risk (see The Case for Precaution in Cell Phone Use, attached). To date, a number of countries including France, Germany and India have issued recommendations that exposure to electromagnetic fields should be limited. In addition, Toronto’s Department of Public Health is advising teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones, to avoid potential health risks.

More definitive data that cover the health effects from prolonged cell phone use have been compiled by the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, publication has been delayed for two years. In anticipation of release of the WHO report, the attached prudent and simple precautions, intended to promote precautionary efforts to reduce exposures to cell phone electromagnetic radiation, have been reviewed by UPCI experts in neuro-oncology, epidemiology, neurosurgery and the Center for Environmental Oncology.

The complete PDF file lists 10 precautions he considers to be important, particularly in regards to brain development in children. This statement by Dr. Herberman comes within the same time frame as Israeli scientist, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki. She and her colleagues published the results of their study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, citing links between heavy cell phone usage and the onset of tumors, particularly in the salivary glands. An article in Science Daily gives an overview.

I have contended for a long time that there have been studies over the last 15 years in Europe which showed similar findings, but you would hear them reported, then they would ‘disappear’. I put ‘disappear’ in single quotes because despite claims that nothing disappears from the Net any more, there are a number of info sources I have seen over the last couple of decades which are now nowhere to be found. I have also contended that cell phone technology is the most esteemed of corporate/technological sacred cows, and is therefore being protected from scrutiny in unprecedented ways. These are just my opinions, however, consider this.

In the last 30 years, within the arena of what are termed ‘durable goods’, there have been very few major developments — with the obvious exception of the computer, and the cell phone. I used the term ‘durable goods’ as a reference to what are generally considered necessities, such as refrigerators, stoves/ovens, washing machines and dryers. This is to distinguish them from those things considered luxury &/or entertainment items, like LCD tv’s, MP3 players, video games, etc. While there have been some innovations in the arena of durable goods, there has not been anything we would consider a ‘breakthru’ since frost free refrigerators and microwave ovens. Yes, there have been some attempts at microwave clothes dryers, and we now have cook top stoves and convection ovens, but no breakthroughs on par with those in other areas of technology.

I make this point because it is relevant to our overall economy. When things are booming, you can make a good business selling ‘luxury’ items, but when things get tight, those are the first to be set aside, as the casinos & gaming concerns are learning right now. This is pertinent because of the number of companies and people involved in the cell phone industry. Folks don’t want to listen to this info, for a variety of reasons. The metaphor I like to use is, if it were scientifically unequivocally determined that the use of existing cell phone/microwave technology was as bad for you as say, Thalidomide was in the ’60’s — on the level of say DDT or asbestos — does anyone have any idea of how devastating a blow it would be to our already teetering economy…? No one wants to think about this, &, IMHO, it is the key reason the existing medical findings — which support this one — have been repeatedly suppressed… Try to imagine the flood of lawsuits, etc., and corporate payouts which would follow. At this point, our economy could not take a hit like that — on top of the banking issues, etc.(see next post) — without near total collapse. Just as we see the FDA posturing in matters regarding side effect blow back on certain drugs they approved, perhaps too quickly, they are circling the wagons relative to cell phones as well. Keep you eyes on the international news outlets, and, as always, do your own research.

I would also mention the book Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage, by Dr. George Carlo & Martin Schram.  Check his short video:


It is also worthwhile to check out the following article “Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone”.

Groups affiliated with the report include Powerwatch and the EM Radiation Research Trust in the UK, and the EMR Policy Institute, and The Peoples Initiative Foundation in the US.

The exposé discusses research on cellphones and brain tumors and concludes:

  • There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use;
  • Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors, and;
  • Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors.

This report, sent to government leaders and media today(25 August 2009), details eleven design flaws of the 13-country, Telecom-funded Interphone study. The Interphone study, begun in 1999, was intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a ‘systemic-skew’, greatly underestimating brain tumor risk.

The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones,) as ‘unexposed’; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.

International scientists endorsing the report include Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Director Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; David Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany; Martin Blank, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University; Professor Yury Grigoriev, Chairman of Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, and many others.

Please note that they have the report available to download(PDF)  Their summary page has the download link.


  1. […] Yielding Wealth | Personal Finance wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptCell Phones & Cancer: What they won’t say… Many years ago, a colleague of mine who worked for Underwriter’s Laboratories — a global product compliance/safety assurance organization — would have extended conversations about cell phones & microwave technology, its safety challenges, and even its history, going back to its decommissioning after WWII. In this age of the Internet you would think you could find any information, yet much of the info he sent me in hard copy I could not find […]

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