Just recently I have heard the news of a successful Brisbane agency Principal having been diagnosed and operated on for a Brain Tumor. The prognosis isn’t good from all accounts and feedback he has received from the medical profession points toward the use of his mobile phone potentially having played a part in this dreadful disease.
Due to my own experiences with the effects of mobile phones which include headaches, ear aches, extreme heat plus sore jaws and teeth like a toothache, I have long held the belief mobile phones could easily be causing health issues we are yet unaware of. For me, it began immediately when I changed from analogue to digital.
Earlier this year 60 minutes ran a programme highlighting the potential dangers of mobile phone use and an extended interview with Dr Charlie Teo, an Australian neurosurgeon and co-author of a study on mobile phones and their effects.
Dr Teo said “…if the question is do I believe that mobile phones can cause brain cancer, the answer is yes I do.” In talking with Liam Bartlett from 60 minutes he went on to say “That’s a huge fear. I mean, what if we’re right? Then if we’re right we’re going to see a huge increase in brain tumours and brain cancer in the next decade or so. It’s going to be frightening. And guess what Liam, we’re already frightened by what were seeing.”
You can see the full interview here.
In researching to complete this article I found stories suggesting the dangers of mobile phone use have far broader potential implications. A respected Australian research laboratory has just published its findings confirming that human sperm is damaged by mobile phone radiation, with implications regarding impaired fertility for males carrying their phones in their waist pockets or on waist belts.
Also Lloyd Morgan, lead author and member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society says, “Exposure to cell phone radiation is the largest human health experiment ever undertaken and has some 4 billion participants enrolled. Science has shown increased risk of brain tumors from use of cell phones, as well as increased risk of eye cancer, salivary gland tumors, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia.
Dr Vini Khurana who is a staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital and an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University spoke with US TV host Larry King last year. During that interview the following conversation was had.
LARRY KING: “Doctor Khurana, you say that the danger of cell phones could have far broader health ramifications than asbestos and smoking. What do you base it on?”
Dr VINI KHURANA: “I base it on the fact, Larry, that at this point in time, there’s just over three billion users of cell phones worldwide. So that’s half of our world population, or almost half. We’ve reached saturation points. For example, in Australia, there are 22 million cell phones and 21 million people. And the concern is not just brain tumors, but other health effects associated or reported to be associated with cell phones, including behavioral disturbances, salivary gland tumors, male infertility and microwave sickness syndrome. So we’re not just talking about tumors, and I was not just implying brain tumors, but there are other health effects. And with so many users and users starting at the age of three and up now, we should be concerned. And I stand by those comments.”
Dr Khurana recommends using a landline in preference to a mobile phone, or “speaker-phone mode” with the mobile or cordless unit held at least 20 cm from the head, or a wired ear piece. The Apple iPhone (used by Dr Khurana when on-call) has an excellent and clear integrated speaker-phone function and is distributed with a wired ear piece.
Mark Lowrey from Brisbane’s inner city agency Style Estate Agents says he always uses handsfree whenever driving and has purchased a headset to use whenever in the office. “Not only does it reduce potential health risks but using a headset also keeps me free to take notes and do research whilst I am talking with a client”
I now own an iPhone myself and have found the wired ear piece the best one I have used. Apple iPhone have the following statement which comes with your phone which says:-
“…When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips, or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) separation between iPhone and the body…If you are still concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPhone…and by placing more distance between your body and iPhone, since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.” [Apple Inc., June 19, 2009]
Wikipedia details The World Health Organization research studies across the globe which state there is no ill effect from mobile phone use. Danish, Swedish, British and German studies have all found no evidence linking mobile phones with health issues saying the levels of radiation emitting from mobile phones are not enough to cause health concerns and that no evidence supports any such theory.
The website continues on to say in relation to Risks….. Normal exposure to mobile phone radiation cannot cause headaches or dizziness, nor can it cause brain cancers, neurological effects or reproductive effects.
Based on my experience I can have headaches for several days after direct mobile phone use as well as the other symptoms I outlined earlier.
On October 1, 2009 an article titled How safe is your mobile phone was published. You can read it here.
There are now more mobile phones (22million) available in Australia than our population (21million). Mobiles pump $6.5 billion a year into the economy and Telcos are not going to just go away without definitive proof which may still take some years to arise. The tobacco industry and its spin doctoring over decades gives us every reason to question what we are now being told in relation to mobile phones and our health.
The mobile phone companies have hired a company to conduct a “study” which concluded there are no effects from mobile phones. Since these studies were hired by the phone companies we will have to draw our own conclusions as to their credibility.
There are some simple steps that mobile phone users can take to reduce potential risk:
- First, use a headset or speakerphone mode. That moves the phone (and it’s antenna) away from your head.
- Second, use a landline phone wherever possible.
- Third, consider reserving the use of mobile phones for shorter conversations or when a conventional phone is not available.
- Fourth, the effects of cellular damage are greatest on growing, developing organisms (i.e., the young), so limit children’s use of cell phones!
- Finally, in a car, use an external antenna mounted outside the vehicle to move the source of the radiation farther from you! Avoid using the phone in a confined space (such as in the car or building) as this causes the phone to radiate at the higher power levels to get a signal out.
Our industry requires us to be heavy mobile phone users. Taking simple precautions now may be a sensible approach until more research is known and greater clarity provided over any possible effects of mobile phones to consumers. After all, what have we got if we haven’t got our health.
Written by Kevin Hockey Oct 2009.