Mobile Phones Were a Type of Food, They Simply Would
Not be Licensed"
Cellular phone increases
the risk of brain cancer (brain
Cellular phones can
do biological damage through heating effects.
Cellular phone causes
symptoms: including headaches,
earaches, blurring of vision, short-term memory loss,
numbing, tingling, and burning sensations, bad sleep,fatigue,
Single and double strand
DNA breaks in brain cells increased after exposure to
RF. Exposure to both continuous wave and pulsed RF (mobil
phone) produced DNA damage. Double strand breaks, if
not repaired, are known to lead to cell death.
Research by other
scientists indicates that prolonged use of mobile phones
may cause hot-spots to develop inside the brain, causing
damage which could lead to Alzheimers
disease or cancer (brain tumor).
Dr Henry Lai and Dr
N. P. Singh from the University of Washington in Seattle
believe the radiation changed brain cell membranes in
the rats - and the effects are so severe that it could
affect humans, too.
Dr Alexander Simring has written
in his blog that the jury is still out on the risks of radiation, however it is
probably still worthwhile to minimise exposure to mobile devices in children.
This statement was not uttered by some uneducated anti-technology
activist, but rather was written by British physicist
Dr. Gerald Hyland and was printed in the prestigious
medical journal The Lancet.
A recent issue of the journal published 2 papers on
the subject of cell phone safety, as well as an accompanying
editorial. The editorial, written by Philip P. Dendy
of Cambridge, UK, and entitled "Mobile phones and
the illusory pursuit of safety" puts the 'safety'
issue into perspective:
The deceptively simple question, much loved by television
and radio interviewers, "Is it safe?" is the
scientist's banana skin. A Nobel prize awaits the person
who first designs an experiment to show that anything
In the light of experience with ionizing radiation
and radioactive materials, out-of-hand dismissal of
the possibility of subtle effects of low-intensity,
pulsed, microwave radiation is most unwise.
Early in the 20th century radon and radium-enriched
spa waters were "recommended" for a wide range
of aches and minor ailments. As knowledge of the harmful
effects of ionizing radiation has increased and quantitative
risk estimates have become possible (notwithstanding
rather large error bands), the permitted annual dose
limit has been progressively reduced from the 1930s
to the present day.
Dr. Hyland writes an excellent paper, covering the possible
mechanisms by which mobile phones, or cell phones, may
cause adverse effects in people. Below are some exerpts
from his paper, entitled "Physics and Biology of
there is evidence that the low intensity, pulsed radiation
currently used can exert subtle non-thermal influences.
If these influences entail adverse health consequences,
current guidelines would be inadequate.This review will
focus on this possibility.
The radiation used is indeed of very low intensity,
but an oscillatory similitude between this pulsed microwave
radiation and certain electrochemical activities of
the living human being should prompt concern. there
are consistencies between some of these effects and
the neurological problems reported by some mobile-telephone
users and people exposed longterm to base-station radiation.
The Stewart Report (1), published in May, 2000, makes
some sensible recommendations, but unfortunately some
of its greyer areas are now being exploited by the industry
to obfuscate the issue.
As yet unresolved is the question of adverse health
impacts provoked by the contentious non-thermal effects
of the low intensity, pulsed microwave radiation (MWR)
used. For these effects are not taken into account in
current safety guidelines (2), which simply restrict
the intensity of the radiation to prevent tissue heating
in excess of what the body's thermoregulatory mechanism
can cope with .in the case of living systems (and only
living ones) there are many reports over the past 30
years that MWR can exert non-thermal influences, at
intensities well below those necessary to cause any
detectable heating (3).
The purpose of this review is to introduce clinicians
to the physics of mobile telephony and to explain how
low-intensity, pulsed microwaves can affect living organisms,
both thermally and non-thermally; and then to identify
some of the reported biological impacts of exposure
to this radiation, particularly those provoked by the
contentious non-thermal effects.
Physics of Mobile Telephony
A base-station antenna typically radiates 60 W and
a handset between 1 and 2 W (peak). The antenna of a
handset radiates equally in all directions but a base-station
produces a beam that is much more directional. In addition,
the stations have subsidiary beams called side-lobes,
into which a small fraction of the emitted power is
channelled. Unlike the mean beam, these side-lobes are
localized in the immediate vicinity of the mast, and,
despite their low power, the power density can be comparable
with that of the main beam much further away from the
mast. At 150-200 m, for example, the power density in
the main beam near ground level is typically tenths
of a µW/cm (2).
A handset that is in operation also has a low-frequency
magnetic field (EMF) associated, not with the emitted
microwaves, but with surges of electric current from
the battery that are necessary to implement "time
division multiple access" (TDMA), the system currently
used to increase the number of people who can simultaneously
communicate with a base-station. With handsets that
have an energy-saving discontinuous transmission mode
(DTX), there is an even lower frequency pulsing at 2
Hz, which occurs when the user is listening but not
Biological Impacts: Thermal
Heating of biological tissue is a consequence of microwave
energy absorption by the tissue's water content. The
amount of heating produced in a living organism depends
primarily on the intensity (or power density) of the
radiation once it has penetrated the system, on certain
electrical properties of the biomatter, and on the efficiency
of the body's thermoregulation mechanism.
Above a certain intensity of the microwaves, temperature
homoeostasis is not maintained, and effects on health
ensue once the temperature rise exceeds about 1°C.
Safety guidelines impose upper limits on the radiation
intensity to ensure that this does not happen.
Heating occurs whether the organism is alive or dead.
The frequency of the radiation, as opposed to the intensity,
is taken into account only in so far as it affects (via
size resonance) the ability of the organism to absorb
energy from the irradiating field.
Amongst the most thermally vulnerable areas of the
body (2), because of their low blood supply, are the
eyes and the testes, and cataract formation and reduced
sperm counts are well-documented acute exposure hazards.
Animal studies indicate that a variety of behavioral
and physiological disorders can be provoked by temperature
rises below 1°C--ie, under much less acute exposure
conditions there are reports of adverse health effects
of subthermal intensities, the possible origin of which
will now be considered.
Biological Effects: Non-Thermal
The possibility that the pulsed, low-intensity MWR
currently used in GSM mobile telephony can exert subtle,
non-thermal influences on a living organism arises because
microwaves are waves; they have properties other than
the intensity that is regulated by safety guidelines.
This microwave radiation has certain well-defined frequencies,
which facilitate its discernment by a living organism
(despite its ultralow intensity), and via which the
organism can, in turn, be affected.
The human body is an electrochemical instrument of
exquisite sensitivity whose orderly functioning and
control are underpinned (6) by oscillatory electrical
processes of various kinds, each characterised by a
specific frequency, some of which happen to be close
to those used in GSM. Thus some endogenous biological
electrical activities can be interfered with via oscillatory
aspects of the incoming radiation, in much the same
way as can the reception on a radio.
The biological electrical activities that are vulnerable
to interference from GSM radiation include highly organised
electrical activities at a cellular level whose frequency
happens to lie in the microwave region, and which are
a consequence of metabolism.7 Although not universally
accepted, there is experimental evidence7-9 consistent
with these endogenous activities, in terms of which
effects of ultralow-intensity microwave radiation of
a specific frequency on processes as fundamental as
cell division, for example, can be understood in a rather
Furthermore, the DTX pulse frequency at 2 Hz and the
TDMA frequency of 8·34 Hz correspond to frequencies
of electrical oscillations found in the human brain,
specifically the delta and alpha brain-waves, respectively.
It is thus quite possible that living organisms have
a two-fold sensitivity to the pulsed GSM signal--ie,
to both the microwave carrier and the lower frequency
pulsings of the TDMA and DTX signals.
To deny this possibility yet admit the importance of
ensuring electromagnetic compatibility with electronic
instruments by banning the use of mobile phones on aircraft
(11) and hospitals (a prohibition driven by concerns
about non-thermal interference) seems inconsistent.
The intensity of radiation needed for this recognition
is many orders of magnitude below even that currently
associated with non-thermal effects. This influence
is possible only when the organism is alive, with excited
endogenous frequencies; the dead have flat electroencephalograms.
Non-thermal effects thus depend on the state of the
person when exposed to the radiation--ie, non-thermal
effects are non-linear. A low-intensity field can entail
a seemingly disproportionately large response (or none
at all), and vice versa, quite unlike the predictable
thermal responses. Thus not everyone can be expected
to be affected in the same way by identical exposure
to the same radiation.
A good example of human vulnerability to a non-thermal,electromagnetic
influence is the ability of a light flashing at about
15 Hz to induce seizures in people with photosensitive
epilepsy (12). It is not so much the amount of energy
absorbed from the light that provokes the seizure, but
rather the information transmitted to the brain by the
(coherent) regularity of its flashing, at a frequency
that the brain "recognises" because it matches
or is close to a frequency utilised by the brain itself.
What do we know experimentally about non-thermal biological
influences of MWR (both pulsed and continuous) of an
intensity close to that near a mobile phone handset,
but often at higher microwave carrier frequencies? A
selection of in vitro studies is given in panel 1.
Panel 1: Selected in vitro studies of non-thermal effects
of microwave radiation of various frequencies and intensities
Epileptic activity in rat brain slices in
conjunction with certain drugs
Resonant effects on cell division of Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, and on the genome conformation of Escherichia coli
Synchronisation of cell division in S carlsbergenis
"Switch-on" of epigenetic processes,
such as -phage and colicin synthesis
Altered ornithine decarboxylase activity
Reduced lymphocyte cytotoxicity
Increased permeability of erythrocyte membrane
Effects on brain electrochemistry (calcium
Increase in chromosome aberrations and micronuclei
in human blood lymphocytes
Synergism with cancer-promoting drugs such
as phorbol ester
In vivo evidence of non-thermal influences, including
exposure to actual GSM radiation, comes predominantly from animal studies
Panel 2: Selected in vivo
studies of non-thermal microwave exposure, including GSM radiation
Epileptiform activity in rats, in conjunction
with certain drugs
Depression of chicken immune systems (melatonin,
corticosterone and IgG levels)
Increase in chick embryo mortality
Increased permeability of blood-brain barrier
Effects on brain electrochemistry (dopamine,
Increases in DNA single and double strand
breaks in rat brain
Promotion of lymphomas in transgenic mice
Synergistic effects with certain psychoactive
Finally, human in vivo studies, under GSM or similar
conditions, include effects on the EEG and on blood
pressure. A delayed increase in spectral power density
(particularly in the alpha band) has been corroborated
(31) in the "awake" EEG of adults exposed
to GSM radiation. Influences on the "alseep"
EEG include a shortening of rapid-eye-movement (REM)
sleep during which the power density in the alpha band
increases (32), and effects on non-REM sleep (33). Exposure
to mobile phone radiation also decreases the preparatory
slow potentials in certain regions of the brain (34)
and affects memory tasks (35). In 1998, Braune et al
(36) recorded increases in resting blood pressure during
exposure to radiofrequencies.
Non-thermal effects have proved controversial, and
independent attempts to replicate them have not always
been successful. Such difficulties are not unexpected,
however, because these effects depend on the state of
the organism when it is exposed, particularly in vivo.
Possible Associated Adverse Health Reactions
GSM radiation does seem to affect non-thermally a
variety of brain functions (including the neuroendocrine
system), and health problems reported anecdotally do
tend to be neurological, although formal confirmation
of such reports, based on epidemiological studies, is
reports of headache are consistent with the effect of
the radiation on the dopamine-opiate system of the brain27
the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (26), both
of which have been connected to headache (40,41).
Reports of sleep disruption are consistent with effects
of the radiation on melatonin levels (25) and
on rapid-eye-movement sleep (32).
Furthermore, since there is no reason to suppose that
the seizure-inducing ability (12) of a flashing visible
light does not extend to microwave radiation (which
can access the brain through the skull) flashing at
a similarly low frequency, together with the fact that
exposure to pulsed MWR can induce epileptic activity
in rats (24), reports of epileptic activity in some
children exposed to base-station radiation are perhaps
Finally, the significant increase (by a factor of between
2 and 3) in the incidence of neuroepithelial tumours
(the laterality of which correlates with cell-phone
use) found in a nationwide US study (42) is consistent
not only with the genotoxicity of GSM radiation, as
indicated by increased DNA strand breaks (28) and formation
of chromosome aberrations and micronuclei but also with
its promotional effect on tumour development (43).
it cannot be denied that non-thermal effects of the
MWR used in mobile telephony do have the potential to
induce adverse health reactions of the kind reported,
and this possibility should not be ignored even if only
a small minority of people are at risk.
Whether a person is affected or not could depend, for
example, on the level of stress before exposure; if
it is high enough, the additional contribution from
MWR exposure might be sufficient to trigger an abnormality
that would otherwise have remained latent.
It is often argued that anecdotal reports of health
problems should be dismissed. However, given the paucity
of systematic epidemiological studies of this new technology,
such reports are an indispensable source of information,
a point acknowledged in the 1999 report of the UK parliamentary
Preadolescent children can be expected to be more vulnerable
to any adverse health effects than adults because absorption
of GSM microwaves is greatest (5) in an object about
the size of a child's head, because of the "head
resonance" effect and the greater ease with which
the radiation can penetrate the thinner skull of an
Also the multiframe repetition frequency of 8·34
Hz and the 2 Hz pulsing in the DTX mode of cellphones
lie in the range of the alpha and delta brain-waves,
In a child, alpha waves do not replace delta waves
as a stable activity until the age of about 12 years.
Furthermore, the immune system, whose efficacy is degraded
(19,25) by this kind of radiation, is less robust in
This makes them less able to cope with any adverse
health effect that might be provoked by chronic exposure,
not only to the pulsed microwave radiation but also
to the the more penetrating low-frequency magnetic fields
associated with the current surges from the handset
battery which can reach 40 µT (peak) near the
back of the case (45). Indications of the biological
noxiousness of these magnetic fields (in animals) can
be found in ref 25.
In the context of base-station radiation, reports relating
to animals are of particular value since it cannot here
be claimed that the effects are psychosomatic. Of particular
interest is a publication on cattle (43), recording
severely reduced milk yields, emaciation, spontaneous
abortions, and stillbirths. When cattle are removed
to pastures well away from the mast, their condition
improves, but it deteriorates once they are brought
back. The adverse effects appeared only after GSM microwave
antennae were installed on a tower formerly used to
transmit only non-pulsed television and radio signals.
Finally, in support of the reality of an adverse health
impact of non-thermal influences of the kind of radiation
used today in mobile telephony, we should recall that
during the "cold war" the Soviet irradiation
of western embassies with microwave radiation (of an
intensity intermediate between that in the vicinity
of a handset and a base-station), done with the express
intention of inducing adverse health effects, was quite
The references to this excellent review by Dr. Hyland
are given below.
Risks on the Road
In a separate Lancet report, Massachusetts scientist
Dr. Kenneth Rothman said his research indicated the
main public health concern was motor vehicle collisions
rather than any possible link to brain cancer.
He notes that one study found that the risk of a car
accident was 4 times greater when the driver was using
the telephone or soon after a call and that heavy mobile
users were involved in twice as many fatal road accidents
than light users.
In addition, use of 'hands-free' units was no less
risky than holding the telephone to the ear with one
hand while talking.
The Lancet, November 25, 2000; 356: 1833-36, 1837-40
Many people concerned with possible adverse health
effects, including myself, have recommended the use
of "Hands Free" units as a way to greatly
reduce the microwave exposure. However, as we reported
several weeks ago this may not necessarily be any safer.
Now, upon further review of the safety evidence, including
the results of tests conducted by the British Consumers
Association and published in their magazine Which? the
British government has decided to withdraw its recommendation
that mobile phone users switch to handsfree units.
In addition, they plan to start issuing leaflets warning
buyers of the unknown, but potentially harmful impact
of mobile phone usage by children, according to a report
The warnings follow the British government's continuing
funding of tests into the effects of mobile phone radio
frequency (RF) radiation on the soft tissue of the brain
Liam Donaldson, the UK's chief medical officer, said
that the government's decision to remove the health
approval on handsfree kits followed a number of investigations
that claim handsfree devices may even channel radiation
to the users head. "We don't have good enough science
so far to say definitely one way or the other,"
he said, adding that further research is being conducted
urgently to provide an answer to the question.
This is the most comprehensive detailed and well referenced
report on cell phone dangers I have yet to see.
Cell phones are becoming increasingly popular, yet
most are absolutely blinded to the damage they are doing
to their brains by exposing themselves to this radiation.
Even the conservative British journal The Lancet is
warning that the dangers from this radiation can NOT
My recommendation? Keep the use down to as low as possible
(my use is less than five minutes per YEAR). Let's keep
those brain cells alive!
MOBILE phone users dont usually get much sympathy
from the rest of us - and quite rightly so. If theyre
not bawling into a handset in a train carriage, theyre
veering wildly across the carriageway as they try to
make a call, eat a sandwich and steer a Vauxhall Vectra
at the same time.
Should mobile phones carry a health warning?
But in what seems like an act of divine retribution,
it has been discovered that not only do mobile phones
make you look like a complete prat, they could give
you cancer, asthma and Alzheimers. And if thats not
enough to make the buggers shut up, I dont know what
Researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia
discovered earlier this year that the electromagnetic
field that surrounds electrical appliances can be positively
linked to development of cancer in mice (or negatively
linked, if you look at it the mouses point of view).
This is the first scientific study to show such an
effect, said Dr Michael Repacholi, whose research is
being funded by The World Health Organisation as part
of a £2.2 million five-year investigation into
the effects of electromagnetic fields which started
in June 1996.
The National Radiological Protection Board in Didcot,
Oxon, which has our best interests at heart, said the
findings will provide a focus for more research, but
that the implications for human health were far from
Research by other scientists indicates that prolonged
use of mobile phones may cause hot-spots to develop
inside the brain, causing damage which could lead to
Alzheimers disease or cancer.
Dr Peter French, an immunologist from New Zealand, told
BBC 1s WatchDog consumer affairs program that he now
only uses his mobile phone when its absolutely essential,
and switches sides if a call lasts for more than a couple
But despite the warnings, users of mobile phones remain
committed to their high-tech toys. Speaking from inside
a special lead-lined helmet, Paul Pettengale, associate
editor of technology magazine T3, poo-poohed the research,
saying The chances of you developing a brain tumor
by using a mobile phone is so incredibly slim, its
not even a consideration. Such
suggestions are little more than scaremongery.
We're not saying GSM radiation is harmful. We're saying
that if you're concerned about it then we've got a solution
Sales Director, Hagenuk However, new research has found
that a far worse danger is the link between the use
of mobile phones and loss of concentration and lapses
in short-term memory. Boffins at a mobile phone safety
conference in Brussels showed the microwave radiation
like that emitted by mobile phones had the power to
temporarily impair the ability of rats to learn simple
Dr Henry Lai and Dr N P Singh from the University of
Washington in Seattle believe the radiation changed
brain cell membranes in the rats - and the effects are
so severe that it could affect humans, too.
The mobile phone industry has so far been slow to respond
to the health worries. German mobile phone company Hagenuk
is the first to produce a phone that blocks radiation.
Were not saying GSM radiation is harmful, said sales
director Angus Brown, Were saying that if youre concerned
about it then weve got a solution for you.
Hagenuks new phone has an antenna with a special radiating
shield for the users head, so the potentially harmful
electromagnetic energy is emitted in a kidney-shaped
pattern away from the user.
Mitsubishi and Hitachi have also designed low-radiation
phones with patents stating that the aim is to prevent
damage to users health, but Hagenuks is currently
the only safe phone on the market.
So the next time you see a Vectra swerving wildly between
lanes on the motorway, dont condemn the driver as a
dangerous, idiotic show-off - hes probably just forgotten
how to drive his car. Poor sod.
Study: Hands-Free Cell
Phones Just as Dangerous for Drivers
Aug. 16, 2001
(CBS) College student Tony Dhaliwal is about to attempt
a very dangerous mission: In the safety of a simulator,
he'll try to drive and talk on a cell phone at the same
He goes over a shopping list on the phone: "You
want bread, cheerios, hamburger, and--"
Just then, the accident happens. Tony Dhaliwal just
flunked the test.
"I could have killed this guy. This is my fault,"
he says. But he also helped drive home an important
"We've found a clear pattern of impaired driving
behavior while you're talking on a cell phone,"
says Dr. David Strayer.
Strayer, who headed a new University of Utah study
on this subject, says talking on a cell phone is far
riskier for drivers than, say, listening to the radio.
Those using phones miss signals and are slow to react.
Most importantly, the new study revealed, it doesn't
matter if the driver is actually holding the cell phone.
"We found that you are just as impaired when you're
talking with a hands-free device as when you were using
a handheld cell phone," he says.
That suggests that new laws, like one in New York that
bans handheld cell phones, won't reduce the risk of
The distraction, experts say, is the conversation itself.
Drivers can't focus on two things at once, so many tend
to forget about the road.
"The problem with talking on the phone is that
you actually have to think about what you are saying.
So it is not simply just listening to somebody as you
might listen to music on the radio, which you can sort
of put into the background of what you do," says
Dr. Jordan Grafman of the National Institutes of Health.
Safety experts expect that the risk will grow: Seventy-five
percent of drivers say they routinely use cell phones
on the road, where the consequences are real and not
Reuters) Britain announced plans Friday for a $10 million
research program into the potential health hazards of
England's Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson said
leaflets advising people to keep calls short and to
discourage children from using them will also be included
with each new phone.
"It is essential that we provide people with the
evidence on this issue to allow them to make an informed
choice about using their mobile phones," said Donaldson.
Although there is no irrefutable medical evidence about
health risks the government is taking a precautionary
Nearly half of Britain's population, more than 25 million
people, own a cell phone. A quarter of users are under
18 years old.
The research program and leaflets follow a report from
a government inquiry into the safety of cell phones
that was published in May.
Sir William Stewart, who led the inquiry, will head
the research program that will be funded by the government
and the cell phone industry.
"On the basis of the precautionary approach outlined
in the Stewart report, the leaflets provide advice that,
if you use a mobile phone, you can choose to minimize
your exposure to radio waves by keeping your calls short,"
The leaflets will also contain information about living
near cellular phone base stations and the specific absorption
rate (SAR), which is how much radio wave energy the
body absorbs from each phone.
Beginning next year there will be a European Standard
method for measuring SAR which will be provided with
Scientists say the jury is still out on whether cell
phones cause brain tumors or other health problems.
Some researchers claim they are the cause of headaches,
sleeping disorders and memory loss.
Children could be more vulnerable to any potential
ill effects because they have thinner skulls, smaller
heads and their nervous system is still developing.
A study released earlier this month showed hands-free
phone kits could boost the brain's exposure to radiation.
The government leaflet said more studies are needed
to assess the SAR of the hands-free kit.
Research in the United States has shown that heavy
users of cell phones are involved in more fatal road
accidents than people who use them less often.