Cell Phone Towers and Mobile Phone Masts – Beacons of Harm

Is it a cactus? A palm tree? A water tower? No! It’s a cell phone tower! That’s right! Cell phone towers today are being disguised in subtle ways unheard of just a few years ago. See a grain silo? Or a church steeple? You guessed it. It could very well be a cell phone tower. There’s even a cell phone tower that looks just like a lighthouse…never mind that it’s over two miles from the ocean.

But don’t let the pretty and ingenious disguises fool you. There is a real and present danger lurking behind the mask of these innocent designs.

Why the disguises? Obviously, for aesthetic reasons. The cell phone companies don’t want to make their neighborhood friends upset. They want to blend in. So they blend in while they blast your home and neighborhood with toxic electromagnetic radiation.

Cell phone towers, sometimes called masts, or mobile phone towers, weren’t an issue years ago when they were few and far between. One could often drive miles and miles through the countryside and never see one. They were few in number and were only found in obscure locations and seen only on an occasional hilltop. Today cell phone towers have increased dramatically in number. There are now more than 1.9 million cell phone towers and antenna towers spread throughout the U.S. They are now found on churches, schools and firehouses as well as being seen on the rooftop of buildings everywhere. Did you know there is even a cell phone tower near Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park? Can’t sleep well at night? It may be that there’s a cell phone tower close by.

Just why would a mobile phone tower be placed on a church, school or firehouse? Why would school boards and churches agree to this? Money. It’s that simple. The mobile phone companies will pay these organizations, and individual property owners, handsomely to install their equipment on their properties. This “rent money” can range from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars a month. What school district or church couldn’t use extra money to aid a struggling budget? By “renting” the space on an already-constructed building the cell phone industry doesn’t have to purchase land, build a tower or construct a new building. It simply mounts its equipment on a structure that already exists. It’s a win-win deal for the cell phone company and the new ‘landlord.’

Opposition to these cell tower installments used to gone unnoticed and without question. Not so today. Neighborhoods and citizens are becoming vocally opposed. But it’s not the esthetics that causes residents and property owners to oppose these structures. Communities and citizens are afraid of the potential health effects being caused by this technology as well as the adverse affect on property values.

We Can’t Stop Cell Phone Tower Construction

Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to stop the proliferation and continued build out of cell phone towers and structures. Although thought to be legislation about deregulation issues, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) was really an open invitation for the cell phone industry to place their towers anywhere they wanted. Section 704 of the TCA basically states that local authorities can’t ban the placement of towers in their jurisdictions. The law says: “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.” So legally the local government can’t refuse the construction of a cell phone tower in your neighborhood! Any challenge by local communities could easily end up in federal court. Our lawmakers have basically given the cell phone industry free reign to install these towers wherever they want. And, by the way, the cell phone industry helped write this legislation that our government officials passed as law! The public, therefore, now has no voice and no vote. Is there something wrong with this picture? Why didn’t our public officials represent the people instead of big business? Why would you let the very industry you’re trying to regulate write it’s own laws?

Does the income outweigh the potential risks? It appears not. Scores of studies and well-respected research have exposed alarming health effects from various forms of cancer to stress. Many experts today are predicting an epidemic in brain cancer soon.

Representatives from the industry are quick to point out the microwaves emitted by cell phone towers are well below federal standards. And indeed they may be. At least on paper. Most towers operate at a power output of 100 watts. However, this isn’t the total wattage of the tower. What they aren’t telling you is that 100 watts is the power per channel. Since one tower may have dozens of channels you can see that the power output could be highly excessive and well beyond 100 watts. It’s a technical loophole. And, of course, who is monitoring the power output from these towers after they are erected? The FCC certainly isn’t. It doesn’t have the manpower or money to properly regulate the millions of towers and antennas now online. And who is to prevent these companies from turning up the wattage when no one is around? Some have reported that many of these towers have already shown power outputs in the 900 to 1000 watt range.

You Can’t Escape The Radiation. It’s Everywhere.

We simply can’t escape the exposure to this radiation. It’s everywhere. There are so many people using cell phones and wireless connections today that you don’t even have to own a cell phone to be exposed. You’re just as exposed as everyone else. Every time someone makes a call from a mobile phone the signal is sent to a cell phone tower. There are so many calls being made by everyone all around us and now there are so many mobile phone towers in operation, that all of us are caught in the crossfire. It’s like second-hand smoke from cigarettes, except that we can’t get away from it. There simply isn’t anywhere to escape.

How Mobile Phone Towers Work

Cell phone towers emit signals in a “flower petal” pattern around the tower. This 360-degree radius around the tower is called a “cell” and this is what the term “cell” in cell phone means. When your phone is in a “cell” you get good reception and when it isn’t in a?”cell” you get poor reception. So, for a cell phone company to provide complete coverage cell phone towers and antenna towers must be positioned all across the country so that the “cells” overlap. You can begin to see what a huge infrastructure needs to be created to provide complete cell phone coverage. That’s why cell phone towers and antenna towers are so prevalent. Furthermore, that’s why these antennas are installed in so many places like rooftops, fire stations, schools and churches. This is what is necessary for complete coverage.

Studies Show Adverse Health Effects From Cell Phone Towers

If you aren’t sure that cell phone towers and masts are harmful the following study summaries should convince you. Below are listed six studies that have shown significant adverse health effects on people living near cell phone towers. According to Dr. Grahame Blackwell “these are the only studies known that specifically consider the effects of masts on people. All six studies show clear and significant ill-health effects. There are no known studies relating to health effects of masts that do not show such ill-health effects.”

  • Santini et al. found significant health problems in people living within 300 meters of a cell phone base station or tower. The recommendation was made from the study that cell phone base stations should not be placed closer than 300 meters to populated areas. Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002; 50: 369-373.
  • A Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research study entitled, “Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields On Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints” found significant effects on well being including headaches, muscle fatigue, pain, and dizziness from tower emissions well below the “safety” level.
  • Gerd, Enrique, Manuel, Ceferino and Claludio conducted a Spanish study called “The Microwave Syndrome” and found adverse health effects from those living near two cell phone base stations. The health effects included fatigue, a tendency toward depression, sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.
  • From an Israeli study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004, Wolf and Wolf reported a fourfold increase in the incidence of cancer in people living within 350 meters of a cell phone tower as compared to the Israeli general population. They also reported a tenfold increase specifically among women.
  • In the Naila Study from Germany, November 2004, five medical doctors collaborated to assess the risk to people living near a cell phone tower. The retrospective study was taken from patient case histories between 1994 and 2004 from those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance up to 400 meters from the tower site. The results showed that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher in those patients living within the 400-meter distance and that the patients became ill on average eight years earlier. In the years 1999 to 2004, after five years of operation of the transmitting tower, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.
  • An Austrian Study released in May 2005, showed that radiation from a cell phone tower at a distance of 80 meters causes significant changes of the electrical currents in the brains of test subjects. All test subjects indicated they felt unwell during the radiation and some reported being seriously ill. According to the scientists doing the study, this is the first worldwide proof of significant changes of the electrical currents in the brain, as measured by EEG, by a cell phone base station at a distance of 80 meters. Subjects reported symptoms such as buzzing in the head, tinnitus, palpitations of the heart, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, agitation, headache, heat sensation and depression. According to scientists this is the first proof that electrical circuits in the brain are significantly affected by a cell phone tower. The distance in this study was a mere 80 meters.

Two-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about mobile phone towers. “Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by governments and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests.”

Dr. Bruce Hocking did a study in Syndey, Australia, of children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which by the way, are very similar to cell phone towers. He found that these children had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers.

Results in yet another recent study conducted on inhabitants living near or under a mobile phone base station antenna yielded the following prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances(23.5%). In this study the participants were given a neurobehavioral test battery measuring such things as problem solving, visuomotor speed, attention andmemory. Symptoms of exposed inhabitants were significantly higher than control groups.

Furthermore, Europe’s top environmental watchdog group, European Environment Agency (EEA), is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to mobile phone masts. EEA suggests action to reduce exposure immediately to vulnerable groups such as children.

The development of brain tumors in staff members working in a building in Melbourne, Australia, prompted the closing of the top floors of the building. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is housed in the building. Seven staff members were diagnosed with brain tumors and five of the seven worked on the top floor. A cell phone antenna is located on the roof of the building.

The Orange phone company in England is being forced to remove its mast tower on a building in Bristol, England. The removal is a result of a five-year effort by residents and local authorities to have the mast removed. Cancer rates in the building, which has become known internationally as the “Tower of Doom,” have soared to ten times the national average for the 110 residents living there. The two masts sitting on the roof, one owned by Orange and the other by Vodafone, were installed in 1994. Vodafone has refused the remove its mast.

Cell Phone Towers Affect Animals

Animals aren’t exempt from exposure the cell phone tower radiation either. One veterinary school in Hanover, Germany, reports that dairy cows kept in close proximity to a cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production in addition to other health problems including abnormal behavior patterns.

Firefighters Vote To Suspend Cell Tower Construction On Fire Stations

Concerned about the effect that masts have on the nation’s firefighters, The International Association of Fire Fighters voted in 2004 to voice its opposition to cell phone towers and antennas being place on and around fire stations. They want proof first that there isn’t a safety issue and have asked for a moratorium on further construction and placement of any more towers or antennas on or around firehouses until such a study can be conducted.

What Are These Antennas Doing To Our Kids While They’re In School?’t worth the risk. They should not be subjected to microwave radiation when science has proven there could clearly be devastating effects as outlined in the previously mentioned studies. School boards and parent organizations need to be aware of the inherent dangers from such an exposure. It’s been clearly shown that microwave radiation penetrates the head of a child much easier than that of an adult. This is due to the thinner and softer bones in the head of child. Skull bones don’t fully harden until about age 22.

How Many Cell Phone Towers Are Near You?

The average person lives within one-half mile of a cell phone tower. Have you ever wondered how close you live or work to one of these towers? Would it bother you if one were right in your backyard? How many of these towers and antennas do you think there are in your immediate area? Find out by visiting the website http://www.antennasearch.com/. Simply type in your address and you’ll get a listing and a map of all the towers and antennas within a short radius of your address. Like most people you’ll probably gasp when you see the numbers. These towers are literally everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of them are probably located within a few miles of your home or office.

Watch The Signal Bars On Your Cell Phone

The signal bars on your cell phone tell you how strong the signal is that are connecting to your cell phone. In other words, the closer you are to a cell phone tower the stronger the signal. The stronger the signal the less power your phone has to use to maintain the connection. A strong signal is indicated by a full set of “bars” showing on your cell phone display. Fewer bars mean a weaker signal. A weaker signal means the cell phone has to work harder to maintain the signal. Consequently, more power is needed to maintain the connection. The more power needed the greater the amount of radiation produced by your phone and the greater exposure to you. So always try to talk in outdoors or in an open space. This allows an easier connection from your cell phone to the nearest cell phone tower. Your phone won’t have to work as hard and less power is used to maintain the signal, which translates, to less radiation exposure for you.

What Can We Do?

Obviously, can’t escape the exposure. We’ve established that fact. So what can we do to minimize the damage?

Here are few ideas: We need to limit our exposure any way possible. Don’t live near a cell phone tower if you have a choice. Don’t buy a home near one even if the price is right. Limit your use of wireless devices. Go back to ‘wired’ connections whenever possible. Maximize your health through proper nutrition and good hydration. Eat foods high in antioxidants and take supplements. Eat organically as much as possible. There is no safe distance to locate away from a mast tower. Obviously, the closer to the tower the greater the exposure risk so do locate as far away as possible. Whenever possible encourage your local government officials to consider transitioning to the use of fiber optic cable. Most of it has already been laid underground. It’s just not being used. There are no masts with fiber optics and the small amount of radiation at the exits can be neutralized with technology now available. Discourage the use of Wi-Fi in schools by meeting with your school officials and school boards. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere now. Even whole cities are going wireless with the installation of Wi-Fi. Again, it’s all done through a wireless signal, which is damaging to your health. Don’t let cell phone companies install cell phone antennas on the roofs of schools where your children attend. The radio waves are disruptive to their ability to focus, not to mention the health hazards we’ve already outlined. If you can’t change your current situation there is some hope. There are some intervention devices now available that you can use in your home, school and office to help lessen the risk of exposure. Some very good cutting-edge technology has been developed that will intervene and help mitigate the damage being done by wireless connections.

If you’d like to discuss those options feel free to get in touch with me.

Killer Cell Phones: Why Honeybees Are Dying Worldwide

Have you heard the news? In just the last ten years or so, the world’s honeybee population has taken a huge dive-and nobody seems to know why. I found this out myself recently by reading an article called “Bees Feel the Sting: The buzz on the worldwide decline in honeybee populations,” which appeared as the lead story in the September/October 2011 issue of Science Illustrated. According to this article, a group of French biologists is attaching tiny microchips to honeybees to track their daily behavior patterns in an effort to learn what’s killing them. Suspected causes of the unprecedented global honeybee dieoff include pests, predators, disease, pesticide sprays, climate change, and mobile phones. One single factor can be enough to do the bees in, as researcher Cedric Alaux of the Laboratoire Biologie et Protection de l’abeille admitted to Science Illustrated: “We cannot rule out that there is one single factor behind it all that influences the bees in a negative way.”

To identify that factor, the key question we should ask is: What on earth has changed so drastically in the last ten years that would cause billions of honeybees to perish? There has been no drastic change in nature or the global environment that can adequately explain this occurrence. Honeybee pests and predators have been around for centuries, and although their numbers have fluctuated, their populations have not exploded recently as far as I know. Diseases have similarly come and gone. Our climate has been changing recently, but not so drastically or in such a short time period as to explain the mass disappearance of a single insect species.

Thus we can reasonably rule out any natural causes for the world’s honeybee population plunge, and it makes sense to look for the culprit among possible artificial (i.e. manmade) causes. Although pesticide sprays have been in use for decades, their worldwide use has not increased dramatically in recent years; if anything, it has declined as the popularity of organic farming continues to grow.

The only other suspected manmade cause of the honeybees’ death is mobile phones (i.e. cell phones)-or, more precisely, the radio waves emitted by cell phones. Here we’re on to something, because in the last ten years the world’s use of cellular telephones has exploded dramatically, and an ever-growing global network of transmitter towers established to meet this demand now continuously fills much of the Earth’s air with a thick invisible web of electromagnetic radiation. Moreover, the negative effects of this artificial radiation on living organisms are already well known and documented by scientists. (Take, for example, the well-established link between increased cell phone use and increased rates of human brain cancer.) Furthermore, the steepest declines in honeybee populations have been observed in the United States and Europe-where use of mobile phones is greater than anywhere else in the world.

Nothing matches the worldwide decline in honeybee population like the worldwide increase in cellular telephone transmissions during the same time frame. Thus, it is reasonable to draw a link between the two and theorize that the former is the main cause of the latter.

But, some might say, the basis for this supposed theory is rather circumstantial. Is there any real, convincing evidence for it? Yes, there is. In a study conducted last year, researchers at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India fitted cell phones to a beehive and activated them twice a day for 15 minutes each. Within three months, honey production had ceased, the queen laid half as many eggs, and the hive population had fallen significantly.

But the effect of mobile phone towers on bees is even more drastic than that of individual phones. Barbara Hughes, a columnist for the Catholic Virginian who has been visiting the Franciscan monastery at Mission San Luis Rey in California, recently visited a Benedictine abbey near the mission. She related the following in the August 22, 2011 edition of the paper:

One of the monks, who has been a bee keeper at the Abbey for 40 years, explained how until numerous cell phone towers were constructed on the back of their property, he had been collecting 100 gallons of honey a week.

But as the use of cell phones expanded, all of his bees died within a few weeks until he discovered a small area near the base of the hill where he could not get cell phone service. Once he moved his hives to that particular area, the bees once again began to thrive and reproduce.

This anecdote is a graphic example of the danger that mobile phone radiation poses to honeybees. The radiation may be interfering with the bees’ built-in navigational systems, disorienting them and preventing them from finding their way back to their hives, as many researchers think. Or it may be killing them in a more direct fashion. However it works, it’s clear that radio waves from cell phones are lethal to bees. Additional future studies will continue to confirm and bear this out.

The typical cell phone transmitter tower is a veritable beehive of electromagnetic activity. At any given moment it can be sending and receiving the radio transmissions of 10 to 25 different phone calls. A whole row of transmitter towers can process thousands of calls simultaneously. Try to imagine what all the radio waves from all the towers just in your local area would look like, filling the air all around you. If we had the capability to see radio waves, we would be blown away. Thus cell phone towers pose a much more serious threat to living organisms than individual phones because they emit much more concentrated doses of radiation. When we consider that the radiation of a single mobile phone can cause brain cancer in a human being at an early age, it’s not difficult to imagine the deadly effect that thousands of times that radiation would have on a much smaller living creature.

In fact, the gradual, slight decline in world honeybee populations observed over the course of the twentieth century (which preceded the current precipitous decline) was probably due to the gradual establishment of radio stations and transmitters all over the world. Moreover, it is possible that radio waves crisscrossing our atmosphere from Earth-orbiting communications satellites as well as from more recently developed GPS satellites, satellite radio systems, and especially wireless Internet systems, all play minor contributing roles in the current honeybee population crisis. The lesson to be learned from this is that radio waves kill bees–and the world’s more than five billion mobile telephones combined generate more artificial radio emissions by far than all other currently operating high-tech inventions on Earth put together. See “List of countries by number of cell phones in use,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use

The typical modern handheld cell phone is a staple of globalized twenty-first century life-and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s a technological wonder, a marvel of electronic miniaturization and digital engineering, and a powerful tool of communication and entertainment whose convenience can’t be beat. With it we can not only send and receive calls but also text messages and emails; we can take pictures, make audio recordings, store textual information, listen to music, access the Internet (and all that that entails), watch videos, read e-books, play games-the capabilities are endless. Cell phones allow us to stay connected like nothing else. Who ever thought this nifty little multi-purpose gadget would pose a threat to the environment?

It’s unfortunate, but true: Within just the last ten years, the increasingly widespread and heavy global use of these handy devices has placed the world’s honeybee population at risk. We are literally buzzing the bees out of existence. Meanwhile, the global pace of construction of new mobile phone towers continues unabated, and worldwide cell phone transmissions continue increasing by the day, filling the Earth’s atmosphere with more and more artificial radio waves. If this trend continues into the next few years, we can expect further drastic reductions in the global honeybee population.

What would happen if honeybees became extinct? We would lose a lot more than just good-tasting natural honey. Honeybees play a critical role in the world’s food chain: they pollinate 75 percent of all the crops consumed by humans, many of which are also consumed by animals. Thus the extinction of honeybees would precipitate a global food crisis of almost unthinkable proportions. I don’t think any of us want to see that happen! Human survival is dependent on the survival of honeybees.

Given the enormity of the stakes involved, it is imperative that we take decisive measures soon to protect the endangered honeybees. This is not like trying to save the Pyrenean Ibex, the Golden Toad, the Javan Tiger, or the Alaotra Grebe (a bird of Madagascar that was officially declared extinct last year). All of these animal species have become extinct since the conservation movement began, but due to their isolated habitats and limited distribution, their extinction had little if any impact on the overall global food chain. The extinction of the honeybee would be an entirely different matter. Because of its worldwide distribution and the key role this little insect plays in crop growth, its demise would be catastrophic for a large percentage of life on earth.

So what can we do to save the honeybees? Here are a few ideas:

1) Spread the word. Tell everyone you know about what you’ve learned in this article. The more people who know about it, the better.

2) Use your cell phone less. Keep it turned off most of the time if you can. Note that you don’t have to make a call to send destructive radiation through the air-just turning the unit on will do that.

3) Buy land phones, which don’t emit harmful radio waves, for your home and office, and use your mobile phone for calls only when away from those places. A cordless land phone offers the best of both worlds-it allows more mobility than a traditional corded land telephone but emits less harmful radiation than a cell phone.

4) At the local level, cities, counties and states could pass ordinances and laws preventing the construction of additional cell phone towers in certain areas (as long as this does not conflict with federal law).

5) Since honeybees continue to flourish in areas without mobile phone service, it would make common sense for the governments of individual countries (especially in the United States and Europe) to review their existing communications policies and enact stricter nationwide regulations for cell phone transmissions.

6) Since more than 9 in 10 Americans now own mobile phones See “List of countries by number of cell phones in use,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use, a permanent nationwide moratorium on the construction of new cell phone towers should be seriously considered.

7) Our federal government could build on the model of the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area straddling the Virginia-West Virginia border that was set aside in 1958 to protect the National Radio Astronomy Observatory from unwanted manmade radio interference. Within this zone, artificial radio transmissions, including cell phone services, are limited but not entirely eliminated. Similar protected zones could be established in America’s sprawling, thinly-populated agricultural regions (such as in the middle states and parts of California) where cell phone services are less in demand and where honeybees are especially needed to pollinate the crops that feed much of the world.

Such efforts to curtail cellular phone transmissions, for the good of honeybees and for our own good, will likely be met with powerful opposition from the big mobile phone companies like AT&T and Verizon. These huge businesses make a killing on cell phones, netting hundreds of billions of dollars annually, so their multibillionaire kings will not take kindly the least threat to the continued expansion of their global empire. They don’t really care what happens to the bees (or to us) as long as they can keep their annual profits swelling. Thus they’ll conveniently deny any connection between cell phone use and declining bee rates (just as they denied that there was any connection between cell phone use and brain cancer). But such opposition shouldn’t discourage us–because denying an inconvenient truth doesn’t make it go away.

Are Cell Phones Causing Cancer?

In 1993, a man filed a lawsuit against the cell phone industry, claiming that his wife died from a brain tumor caused by her repeated use of the cell phone. The tumor was on the same side of the head where she held her cell phone and was shaped like the cell phone antenna. The case got widespread media attention and was featured in CNN’s Larry King show.

Although the claim was dismissed by the court due to lack of sufficient evidence, it was a public relations nightmare for the wireless industry. It also marked the beginning of the global search for a definitive answer to the question: are cell phones safe or not? Does it cause cancer and other degenerative diseases? Brain cancer is up 25% since cell phones became popular. Every year, there are 183,000 more cases in the US alone. Some health experts say there’s a link with cell phone use, but is there proof?

In an effort to diffuse the negative publicity from the high-profile lawsuit, the cell phone industry itself funded a $25 million dollar research program to prove that cell phones are safe. After 6 years of intensive research, however, the results were not what they were looking for. Dr. George Carlo, the chief research scientist of the program, found evidence that cell phones pose some health risks, possibly even cancer.

The first evidence of cancer link that shook the cell phone industry came in 1997. Dr. Michael Repacholi and his colleagues from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia reported that long-term exposure to the type of radiation that comes from digital cell phones caused an increase in the occurrence of lymphoma in mice. The study received widespread international media attention because it was the first time that cancer has been linked to the cell phone in a well-conducted study.

THE RED FLAGS: SOLVING THE CANCER PUZZLE
In order to show a link between cell phone radiation and cancer, let’s look at several studies Dr. Carlo investigated that made him blow the whistle, so to speak. These red-flag findings provide the pieces that fit together to form the cancer picture:

– DNA Damage in Human Blood Studies
– Breakdown in the Blood-Brain Barrier
– Studies of Tumors in People Who Use Cell Phones
– Studies of Cell Phone Radiation Dosage and Response

DNA DAMAGE IN HUMAN BLOOD
All tumors and all cancers are the result of genetic damage. Most often that damage includes the formation of micronuclei–fragments of chromosomes that form membranes around themselves and appear under a microscope as additional nuclei in blood cells (which normally have just a single nucleus). The relationship between micronuclei and cancer is so strong that doctors around the world test for their presence to identify patients likely to develop cancer. The presence of micronuclei indicates that the cells can no longer properly repair broken DNA. This deficiency is considered to be an indication of an increased risk of developing cancer.

– In December 1998, Drs. Ray Tice and Graham Hook of Integrated Laboratory Systems in North Carolina have shown that blood cells exposed to cell phone radiation suffer genetic damage in the form of micronuclei. In their studies, DNA and chromosome damage in human white blood cells occurred when exposed to signals from all types of phones–analog, digital, and PCS. Damage was shown even from signals occurring at a SAR level below the government’s “safety” guideline.

– Using different methods, the above finding was confirmed by Dr. Joseph Roti Roti of Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. His research showed that human blood cells exposed to radiation at wireless phone frequencies did indeed develop genetic damage, in the form of micronuclei. This finding received a lot of notice because Dr. Roti Roti is a prominent scientist who does hiw work under funding by Motorola Inc.

This has a very serious implication. If cell phone radiation encourages the formation of micronuclei in blood cells, and micronuclei are said to be “biological markers” for cancer, then based on these studies alone cell phone use could be said to increase the risk of cancer

BREAKDOWN IN THE BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER
The blood brain barrier is a special filter in the blood vessels of the brain that keeps dangerous chemicals from reaching sensitive brain tissue and causing DNA breaks and other damage.

– In 1994 and again, in 2002, Dr. Leif Salford from Lund University in Stockholm, Sweden found in his studies that rats exposed to cell phone radiation showed a breakdown in the blood brain barrier, as well as areas of shrunken, damaged neurons.

The micronuclei studies of Tice, Hook and Roti Roti and the blood-brain findings of Salford provide a two-step explanation for how cancer could be caused by cell phone radiation.

Step One: A leakage or breakdown in the blood brain barrier would provide a pathway for cancer-causing chemicals in the bloodstream (from tobacco, pesticides, air pollution, etc.) to leak into the brain and damage sensitive brain tissue that would otherwise be protected. These chemicals could break the DNA in the brain or cause other harm to reach those cells.

Step Two: While a number of studies showed that cell phone radiation by itself does not appear to break DNA, the micronuclei findings suggest that they do impair the DNA repair mechanisms in brain cells. Micronuclei result from a breakdown of the cell’s ability to repair itself. If the brain cells become unable to repair themselves, then carcinogenesis–the creation of tumors–induced by chemical toxins could begin.

DNA carries the genetic material of an organism and its different cells. Any damage that goes unrepaired affects the future generation of cells. The change has procreated and this mutation is seen as a possible cause of cancer.

TUMORS IN PEOPLE WHO USE CELL PHONES
Epidemiological studies, performed by different investigators using different methods, show some evidence of an increased risk of tumors among people who use cellular phones.

– In 1998, Dr. Ken Rothman of Eidemiology Resources, Inc. in Newton, Mass., did a study showing that users of handheld cell phones have more than twice the risk of dying from brain cancer than do car phone users–whose antennas are mounted on the body of the car, far removed from the users’ heads.

– In 1998, Joshua Muscat, a research scientist from the American Health Foundation, showed in his study a doubling of the risk of developing neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain among cell phone users, particularly on the side of the skull where cell phone antennas are held during calls.

– Muscat also showed in another study that people who have used cell phones for six years or more have a 50-percent increase in risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the nerve that controls hearing and extends from the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas can cause hearing loss and can be life-threatening if untreated.

This was confirmed in a separate study in Stockholm, Sweden by Anders Ahlbom in 2004 and sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), which finds that people who have used cell phones, this time for at least 10 years, may have an increased risk of developing acoustic neuroma.

– In a study also requested by WHO, researchers headed by Dr. Lennart Hardell of the Orebro Medical Center in Sweden examined 1,617 patients aged between 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour between 1997 and 2000. They were then compared to healthy people. Those who used cell phones for less than 10 years faced a 20% higher risk of developing brain cancer. But for those who used them for more than a decade the risk was 80% higher. The study also found that tumours were 2.5 times more likely to be on the same side of the head as the phone was held. The cancer of the auditory nerve, acoustic neuroma, showed a larger increase–3.5 times greater risk.

CELL PHONE RADIATION DOSAGE AND RESPONSE
All studies mentioned showed that an increase in cell phone radiation exposure also increases the likelihood of the adverse effect occurring.

In Repacholi’s study of mice, the risk of lymphoma increased significantly the longer the mice were exposed to the radio waves.

In the research work done by Tice, Hook, and Roti Roti, the risks of genetic damage as measured by micronuclei formation increased as the amount of radiation increased.

In the three epidemoiological studies–two by Muscat and one by Hardell–the risk of tumors was greater in the areas of the brain near where the cell phone was held.

In Salford’s study, the higher the radiation exposure level the rats were exposed to, the more damage was apparent in the blood vessels in the brain and the neurons.

THE BIG CANCER PICTURE
The test tube studies by Tice and Hook; the mouse study by Repacholoi and Selford; and the epidemiological studies by Rothman, Muscat, and Hardell all agree in that they suggest an increased risk of cancer among cell phone users. They fit together to form the beginnings of a picture that everyone can see. They perhaps don’t form the complete picture yet, but there are enough already in place to see that there is cause fo genuine public health concern about cell phone safety.

According to Dr. Carlo, “The big picture is disturbingly clear. There is a definite risk that the radiation plume that emanates from a cell phone antenna can cause cancer and other health problems. It is a risk that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is a risk that must be seen and understood by all who use cell phones so they can take all the appropriate and available steps to protect themselves–and especially to protect young children whose skulls are still growing and who are the most vulnerable to the risks of radiation.”

MORE PIECES COMING
– In 2000, a team of Sydney researchers published a scientific hypothesis about how mobile phone radiation causes cancer. The report claims that the radiation generated by cell phones causes ongoing stress to the body cells, causing them to give off ‘heat shock proteins (HSP).’ The human cells sometimes release these proteins in response to injury or infection. Such a chronic activation of the heat shock response affects the normal regulation of cells, which could result in cancer.

– In 2002, cell biologist Fiorenzo Marinelli and his team at the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy, exposed leukemia cells to continuous radio waves similar to that of cell phones. The exposed cells had a higher rate of death than the controls initially, but after further exposure, a curious thing happened: instead of more cells dying, the exposed cells were replicating furiously compared to the controls. Genes that trigger cells to multiply were turned on in a high proportion of the cells. The cancer, although briefly beaten back, had become more aggressive. Marinelli suspects that the radiation may initially damage DNA, and that this interferes with the biochemical signals in a way that ultimately triggers the cells to multiply more rapidly.

SO WHY ARE CELL PHONES STILL AROUND?
Now with all the mounting evidence, the cell phone industry still maintains their position that cell phones are safe and have even begun marketing towards children. The governments have been slow in stepping in to warn people of any danger from using cell phones. Fortunately, health officials and experts in several European countries are taking the first steps, having issued public warnings to parents urging caution about kids and cell phones,

If the previous environmental issues involving tobacco, asbestos, and lead are any indication, it takes years and even decades to accumulate the amount of evidence that would produce a definite ruling. In the case of cigarette smoking, it took two decades of study and 100 years of consumer use to gather enough data to meet research standards to demonstrate the need for the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning label on cigarette packs. Some experts say that in the case of cell phones, it will not take that long as data are coming in at a faster pace. But at the present the authorities can only urge people to exercise caution.

Replication of research is another problem. A study that comes out with a new finding generally does not gain immediate acceptance in the scientific community or the wireless industry unless another research lab has been able to replicate the work and the findings. The industry has cleverly perpetuated their position by creating an illusion of responsible follow up by always calling for more research.

When Dr. Salford published his study in 2003 showing that rat brain neurons were dying from exposure to cellphone radiation, he warned there might be similar effects in humans that over time could lead to degenerative diseases of the brain. His study was written off by the industry as a “novel” finding that needed to be replicated.

But achieving the scientific standard of replication can be complicated. Salford says if studies aren’t absolutely replicated, providing an apples-to-apples comparison, there’s wiggle room to dispute follow-up findings. Research studies require funding, and the wireless industry, after Dr. Carlo’s revelations, have been reluctant to put money into more comprehensive research. As for governments, again many European governments are taking the responsible course by funding research, but the U.S. and Canada are lagging poorly.

In 1999, CNN’s Larry King once again featured a man who brought a multimillion dollar lawsuit against cell phone manufacturers. This time the man, a Maryland neurologist, was himself diagnosed with brain cancer–again located on the side of the head where he held his cell phone. The suit was yet again dismissed, however, and the man died not long afterwards.

According to WHO report, 0.1 billion people have died from tobacco use in the 20th century, and 10 times as many will die in the 21st century. No one is suggesting that cell phones could cause as much casualties, but do we really want to wait and find out?

AIMING FOR RESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY
Unlike tobacco, the cell phone has become as an indispensable part of our lives as television and computer. It has enabled us to make a gigantic leap in the way we communicate with one another and has been credited widely with saving people’s lives in emergency situations. Cell phones are here to stay, and perhaps rightly so.

The question is not how to stop people from using this ubiquitous device but rather how to make it safer. The first step always is to admit there is a problem, hence the industry and the government have to acknowledge the health risks inherent with the present technology. This way we can all find the proper solutions that we may more enjoy the benefits of its use without sacrificing our health and wellbeing.

copyright 2005 Taraka Serrano