DR. WEEKS’ COMMENT: I am away from the office now for 3 days without my cell phone. I concur with these doctors noted below: don’t hold the cell phones up to you ear. And feel free to call my office or email me if you need to be in touch: I am not carrying my cell phone.
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cell phones next to their ears. Dr. Keith Black, Dr. Vini Khurana, and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta all maintained that the practice could be unsafe.
Along with Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s recent diagnosis of a glioma, a type of tumor that critics have long associated with cell phone use, the doctors’ remarks have helped reignite the debate about cell phones and cancer.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects. However, that the average period of phone use in those studies was about three years, which provides no information about the long-term exposures that could lead to cancer.
“What we’re seeing is suggestions in epidemiological studies that have looked at people using phones for 10 or more years,” says Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, an industry publication that tracks the research.
|Dr. Mercola’s Comments:|
|I find this New York Times article a very hopeful sign. Those “in the know” in the medical professions, after mountains of evidence have rendered it inarguable, are finally becoming aware of the very real dangers of cell phones. This is often the first step to such knowledge becoming common in the general population.
And the truth is, we are on the verge of a brain cancer epidemic. It could grow to 500,000 cases as soon as 2010, and there may be over a million cases in the U.S. alone by 2015.
Even if you manage to avoid brain cancer, there are risks ranging from headaches and dizziness to Alzheimer’s disease to impotence.
It will take a while for this to become mainstream news, of course. First, the information has to clear the multiple hurdles put in place by the corporate propaganda machines. Just as happened for decades with cigarettes, they will try to hide the truth. There are companies making lots and lots of money off of cell phones, and they will do their best to spread misdirection, spin, and outright lies.
In addition, the government agencies which are in theory there to protect you have entered into mutually profitable “partnerships” with the very businesses they are supposed to regulate, meaning there is very little real regulation going on.
Quite simply, money talks.
In 2007 alone, the telecommunications industry spent almost $250 million on political lobbying. Over the past decade, they have spent a grand total of nearly $2.4 billion. Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to their profits.
In the single year of 2007, the top 20 telecom companies had combined revenues of more than $869 billion.
The FDA is Bought and Paid For
In the United States there are no less than three regulatory agencies that arguably have jurisdiction over cell phones. The first is the FDA, which is responsible by law for regulating any device that emits radiation. But over the past few decades, a series of changes in government policy have for the most part prevented the FDA from being the watchdog organization it was designed to be; these days, it exists mostly to give an imprimatur of government approval to industrial products.
Starting in the mid-1980’s, various industries lobbied Congress to pressure the FDA into speeding up the approval of new drugs and products. Congress was reluctant to pour more money into the organization, so instead they came up with a novel plan: creating a “partnership” between the FDA and the industries it was intended to regulate.
Now, the FDA collects “user fees” from companies, which have grown to account for a significant chunk of the agency’s overall budget. In other words, the FDA now receives corporate sponsorship from the very industry that it aims to regulate. They have been transformed from a corporate watchdog into a customer of those same corporations. They do very little regulating as a result, since they want to keep their “partners” happy.
The EPA is Now Powerless
The EPA has responsibility for any building or factory that emits radiation into the environment, such as a cell phone tower. In the early 1990’s, they planned to start regulating these towers.
But the vast telecommunications industry used its lobbying resources to get a highly self-serving provision inserted into the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Since 1996, a cell phone base station is defined as a radiation emitting “device” rather than a building. Since they are now defined as devices, the EPA has lost its authority to regulate them.
The FCC is Bought and Paid For AND Has No Power!
Another result of the Telecommunications Act was to put nearly all regulatory power over cell phones in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. But the FCC is charged only with overseeing the fair and equitable use of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are not a regulatory agency with regard to health, the environment, or consumer safety. They have no regulatory authority to protect you.
Even if they could, they most likely wouldn’t; like the FDA, they are making a great deal of money off of their corporate “partners”. The supposedly “public” electromagnetic spectrum is auctioned off to companies by the FCC.
What’s more, after the dot-com crash of the late 90’s, many technology companies who had purchased the wavelengths found themselves strapped for cash. They owed money to the FCC, and no longer had any way to pay it. So the FCC cut a deal: they took a small percentage of the owed money as a down payment, and then agreed to collect the rest as the cell phone companies earned money from consumers.
Essentially, the FCC is a mortgage holder for the mobile phone industry.
The FCC now actually has a vested interest in the rapid deployment of technology and build-up of the industry, so that they can collect the rest of their money. They are not going to make any efforts to block anything the industry wants.
This is a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse.
This Must Change, and it Will
Still, in spite of the obstacles, the truth is coming out, and this New York Times article is evidence of that. The more doctors come on board, the more people will be convinced. You as well, can help by convincing your family, your friends, and your colleagues.
In the meantime, take steps to protect yourself. Getting rid of your cell phone altogether can help. But even if you don’t want to take that step, you can still minimize your exposure and reduce your risks, and the risks to your loved ones.
Reduce your cell phone use, keep it at least six inches away from your body, and turn your cell phone off when it isn’t in use — as long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
Barring a life threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.
Use your cell phone only where reception is good; the weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body.
Consider using a headset with well-shielded wires. However, be aware that if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain. Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.
The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires which still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.