Advice for cell phone users

The Larry King show recently discussed the issue of cell phone and brain cancer. The discussion was joined by Dr Sanjay Gupta and Dr Vini Khurana. Here are some important extracts from the discussion if you don’t have time to read it all.

If you look at some of the studies that have been performed — I mean one of the studies that is very concerning has been a story out of Europe that looked at a long-term exposure to the use of cell phones over a period of 10 years. And when patients or people were exposed to over 2,000 hours of cell phone use — which is about an hour a day for 10 years — that study reported about a 3.7-fold increase in the risk of developing brain cancer.

Teenagers and even younger — and they will be using cell phones for 20 or 30 years, we do not have enough data now to say that it is a safe device. Unfortunately, my suspicion is that it’s going to be five years or 10 years before we have a definitive answer. And unfortunately, as you showed at the beginning of the show, there’s a billion people, that will be using cell phones and they will be using cell phones for many years. We don’t know that that will necessarily be a safe practice.

I use a cell phone, but I always use an earpiece. It’s the antenna for the cell phone that is the source for the microwave energy. And as Dr. Gupta said, that energy is directly proportional, actually, to the square of how close you hold it to your brain. So, I think the safe practice is to use an earpiece so that you keep the microwave antenna away from your head.

Well, I think that we do not have conclusive studies, at this point, to make a scientific conclusion that there is a definite correlation. I do think that he raises a very important concern, I think particularly among young people using cell phones. And I think the concern among other types of neurological problems, other than brain cancer, because a microwave antenna is very similar to a microwave oven. It’s heating the brain. So we don’t know what long-term effects that will have on memory as our young adults age and other…

Dr. Keith Black, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

So for safe cell use:

  • Not many people read the instructions that come with their cell phone but it is recommended that there is a distance between the phone and the ear – it should be kept up to an inch from your ear.
  • Make use of ear devices to maintain the distance – using a headset is really the right way to go, earpiece, speaker on phone.
  • When carrying the device, not even when using it, just carrying it and the device is on, you should be using a specific pre-approved holster that has been tested for compliance. Don’t carry it in your pocket or on your body. not wearing one of these non- ionizing Bluetooth things all the time. Although Bluetooth phones give off less radiation than a cell phone, again don’t wear it on you.
  • Use a landline rather than a cell phone – don’t use cell phone as your only communication device.

Further research is being conducted: Interphone Study is continuing to determine whether cell phones increase brain tumours due to the radiation they emit. Meanwhile,

Take this example from the Larry King discussion and deliver it to everyone you know who uses a cell phone:

Brad here has a wired ear piece in his left ear. It goes down to his phone. It’s carried in the approved holster. That is what they recommend.

Please Note:

A reader has alerted me to the following update which I am posting here:

Apparently – the only (best) way to go is to use a speaker and keep a comfortable distance between yourself and the phone.

S Caine Says: July 29th, 2008 at 2:56 am e

I’d like to point out that the British Health authorities have actually recommended AGAINST using a wired earpiece as their studies indicated that it actually increased the amount of radiation reaching the ear (the wire of the earpiece serves as an antenna)! A Bluetooth earpiece on the other hand while having lower levels of radiation than the phone itself, is worn closer to the ear – which increases the exposure. Apparently – the only (best) way to go is to use a speaker and keep a comfortable distance between yourself and the phone.

Mobile phones and brain cancer

Technology is here to stay and we cannot deny the benefits they afford.   I do sometimes wonder whether networks and radiation are silently affecting our health. A recent report, Brain cancer fears over heavy mobile phone use, by a top Australian neurosurgeon has stated that there is a link between mobile phone use and brain tumours.  Vini Khurana (staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital)  has called for “imediate and decisive steps” to reduce the radiation emitted by mobile phones.   Phone radiation can heat the side of the head “while Bluetooth devices and “unshielded” headsets could “convert the user’s head into an effective, potentially self-harming antenna”.

Definitely a good reason for limiting their use.  Mobile phones have never been my favorite technology. I find them intrusive and annoying (unless in an emergency).  I can’t appreciate the value of being contactable 24/7 (unless in an emergency) and definitely prefer other forms of staying in touch.