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.

Affordable Italy Cell Phone Rentals

The ancient and noble city of Cortona in Italy is situated 50 miles from Florence, between Arezzo and Perugia. As you approach the city of Cortona, there lies a vast and beautiful plain, flanked by the wonderful sights of distant hills and valleys, with towering yet fruitful mountains. That is what Italy is, a country full of romance and beauty. It is a visit of a life time and no other country in Europe is as exciting as Italy.

While it is expensive to be in touch with your associates, friends and family back home using your hotel telephone, it is a fact that some of the Villas and apartments do not have a phone and in both the cases a cell phone becomes absolutely necessary. If you are planning to take your US cell phone and carrying your number to Italy and be on roaming through your home service provider, think twice before you do that. You may end up with outrageous bill at the end of the month. Roaming is expensive. There is indeed a way out to avoid the expenses.

There are several ways to have the convenience of a cell phone in Italy and most of these are quite expensive. Italy cell phones rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com is not only affordable but it provide you with the advantage of the cheapest of all rates available, and make your money take you further in your trip to Italy. The rates offered by http://www.italysimcards.com are just fractions of what it would cost you to rent Italy cell phone through conventional sources or roam with your own US cell phone through your home service provider.

Further, when you purchase a pre-paid Italy SIM card, this SIM card alone could save you up to 80% of your call expenses. You get a local number with a pre-paid Italy SIM card and all your outgoing calls are charged at local rates. All your incoming calls are FREE of any charges, no matter where they generate from. You do not need to pay for roaming or any other charges. You do not pay any of those monthly bills and you do not need to enter into any contract.

Your pre-paid Italy SIM card is a module which renders your cell phone intelligent. It is this SIM card that lets you call your associates, friends and your family back home and makes you available to the people who want to get in touch with you. A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is a printed circuit board which goes into a slot at the back of your Italy cell phone. Your pre-paid Italy SIM card is of a size a little smaller than a postage stamp and has a microprocessor and memory circuitry built-in. It stores all your unique information, such as, your phone number, your service plan, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) of your cell phone SIM card, etc. On switching on your phone, your pre-paid Italy SIM card sends the IMSI to the local network. This IMSI identification is then verified by the network database and a series of verification process takes place by transmitting identification codes to your Italy cell phone and receiving back information from your pre-paid Italy SIM card. When this verification is complete, your Italy cell phone is then connected with the network and you are now ready to make and receive calls. This process is so fast that it is absolutely transparent to you.

Your pre-paid Italy SIM card also holds your address book, where you can store the names and the numbers of the people you frequently call. It also logs the numbers of your incoming and outgoing calls and also those calls which you have failed to respond. These numbers are logged by its relevant date and time.

Roaming is a facility provided by your home service provider, where you can carry your phone and your US number through your home service provider. This becomes expensive since you pay for your outgoing and incoming calls at roaming rates. With a rented Italy cell phone you do not need to be on roaming when you have a pre-paid Italy SIM card. The set up is locally configured where you pay for your calls as the locals do. Since you pre-pay for your calls, you do not need to pay anything else over and above that. Italy cell phone rentals are all compatible with the network frequencies as operated in Italy and you need not worry about the frequency incompatibility.

When you leave your geographical area with your phone, you are considered to be roaming in the area that you are visiting. You are then said to be visiting a different network. In order to provide you with the roaming facility, your home service provider has entered into a business agreement with the network you are visiting. Under the circumstances, your home service provider needs to pay for each call that your make or receive through the network that you are visiting. When you roam in Italy with your US cell phone, you are said to be on International Roaming. This is the reason why you receive an outrageous bill at the end of the month when you have taken your US phone on roaming. Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are affordable and cheaper for the low rates that you pay for renting such a cell phone..

Italy is a GSM country, which means that networks in Italy operate on GSM technology. Even if you have a US GSM cell phone, it is unlikely that it would work in Italy, unless you have a quad or tri-band cell phone. You will need a cell phone which responds to GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands, which are the ones operated by the Italian network. Networks in North America, Canada and few other neighbouring countries work on different bandwidths, which are 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. Italy cell phone rental provides you with full compliance of the required frequency response in Italy, being compatible with the GSM frequency bands operated by the networks in Italy

When you visit Italy, you will notice that the country has something for everyone, from the busy cities, showcasing the great cultural heritage of the Italians, exhibiting the latest world fashion, to those quaint little peaceful villages in surroundings that brings in tranquility and a sense of calmness. It is the home of pasta, pizza, gelati and vino, where you can enjoy every situation in one of the most romantic country in the world. Walking through the cobblestone backstreets of Rome, you will discover little late night bars, adorned with mix of paintings, antique statues, grandma lamps and mosaics. You will find this to be an apt place where you can rest your feet and sip on a glass of the finest Italian wine and perhaps pick up your cell phone to talk to your family back home. You are not worried about the expenses since, before you left for Italy, you had rented Italy cell phone and purchased a pre-paid Italy cell phone, a package, providing you with double benefit of cost saving. Italy cell phone rentals cost you a fraction of the rates charged by any other. A compatible GSM phone with a pre-paid Italy SIM card provide you with unbelievable savings, including the fact that your pre-paid Italy SIM card could save you up to 80% on your calls that you make, with all your incoming calls coming FREE to you.

When you purchase a pre-paid Italy SIM card from http://www.italysimcards.com you get an initial talk time credit along with it. This allows you to use your cell phone right away when you reach Italy. As the credit depletes, you can buy recharge vouchers from any convenience stores in Italy and top up your talk time credit. These recharge vouchers are available in different denominations and you can choose the value of credit that you would want. Since you pre-pay for your calls, you are in full control of your expenses and can remain within the budget that you have set for the purpose.

Your Italy cell phone rental from http://www.italysimcards.com comes fully charged when delivered to you. You also receive a battery charger which is compliant with the supply voltage in Italy. Rented Italy cell phones are GSM compatible and responds to the network frequencies as operated in Italy. The use of cell phones in Italy has surpassed the total number of landline installations in the country, with the result, that Italy has one of the best mobile coverage in the world. With your rented Italy cell phone, it is highly unlikely that you would experience any ‘dropped call’ or problems in connectivity. Its not only affordability, Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are available at very low rates, and is the only way out from having the luxury to carry your US cell phone to Italy on roaming. By law, you need to be an Italian citizen to buy or rent any cell phone in that country and therefore Italy cell phone rental from http://www.italysimcards.com provides you with a better economical solution.

All pre-paid Italy SIM cards are GSM compatible, which would mean that you would need a GSM handset to make and receive calls with such a SIM card. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is the second generation (2G) first digital technology system, which replaces the first generation (1G) analog system. GSM is used in over 214 countries and has more than 80% of subscribers out of the total cell phone users in the world. The introduction of GSM technology has created a standard, which embraces all areas of technology, resulting in world-wide seamless wireless connectivity to and from about anywhere in the planet.

If you are not taking your US cell phone on roaming to Italy, the cell phone that you will be taking with you must be SIM unlocked for you to operate that cell phone with a pre-paid Italy SIM card. All Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are SIM unlocked handsets, providing you with worry-free communication when you are in Italy.

Cell phones are generally SIM locked by service providers, where a contract that you have signed stipulates that you should be using the services of that particular provider for a certain period of time. In this case the phone is made available to you free of cost and it is SIM locked and only operates with the SIM card that you receive from your service provider. In this way the service provider ensures that you will not be using any other SIM card. After the contract period is over, the service provider assists you in unlocking your phone. It is only then you may choose any SIM card that you like for your cell phone.

In order to make your travelling from one country to the other easier, cell phones are available in multi-frequency GSM bandwidths. A quad band phone responds to all the existing GSM frequencies – 850 MHz, 900 MHz, and 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz. The tri-band phone is compatible with 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM frequency bands. The dual band handset operates on just two frequency bands – 800MHz and 1900MHz bandwidths. All Italy cell phone rentals comply with the network frequencies of Italy.

As most countries in the world, Italy has opted for GSM technology in the mobile telephony operation. GSM provides crystal clear connectivity, so much so that at times, it becomes difficult to sense if you are on a cell phone or using a landline. Whether you are in one of those quaint little remote villages, in the midst of the populated cities or relaxing in one of the beaches, GSM Italy cell phone rentals provide you with a clear digital reception. In fact 99.8% of the people in Italy use cell phones, which is more than the number of landlines installed in the country.

It is difficult to judge what could cause the most breathtaking experience that you will have when you visit Rome. It could be, the great Coliseum, an arena where display of strength linked this Eternal City to the might of the once Roman Empire, the top speed of Fiat cars while you are trying to cross major intersections or the bill that you have to pay for your coffee. The Coliseum is an amphitheatre and was taken up for construction at the time Emperor Vespasian and completed by his sons, Titus and Domitian, between AD 72 and AD 90. The Coliseum was built at the Domus Aurea, an area where Nero’s enormous palace existed. This large amphitheatre was built to a capacity of 50,000 spectators, witnessing gladiatorial combats. Standing in the middle of this amphitheatre and looking all around you, you would perhaps hear the cheer of that 50,000 people, as the gladiators fought to death. It is indeed breathtaking.

Italy is full of romance. Everywhere you visit, you are charmed by the invisible presence of the feeling of you having a great time and enchanting moments of your visit. The narrow winding streets, provides that sense of nostalgia of by gone days, as you pass the wonderful ancient historical buildings. It is a life time of an experience.

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