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High Tech Bummer: Wireless Dangers

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:11am
Dr. Mercola posted a great article today about cell phone dangers, especially in children. To me, this is one of the biggest wet blankets over my enthusiasm for all our high tech gadgets. Like most people living in Silicon Valley, we use cell phones and wireless networks as if they are essential as the air we breathe. They are, right? Even if our home wireless network is off, we can easily connect to the Internet through neighbors' networks -- we usually have a choice of three.

Is this wireless pollution? Well, it may turn out that wireless -- including cell phones and wireless networks -- is more dangerous to our health than cigarettes. At present, not all the data are in and there are huge incentives to prove wireless is safe. However, the tides are beginning to turn: brain surgeons and high-profile doctors, like CNN's Sanjay Gupta, are beginning to step forward with recommendations to keep the cell phone away from your head.

In the future, expect a huge battle over this one, as cigarettes went down only because there is no demonstrable public good. Not so with wireless. It rocks, well, unless it does contribute to cancer.

Brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer in children. Experts who feel there is enough evidence supporting a wireless-brain cancer connection say children are disproportionately affected due to thinner skulls and more brain fluid which allows the signal to pass more easily through a child's brain. Interestingly, cell phones were approved for human use based on microwave safety studies, but the main flaw in that comparison is that we don't hold a microwave oven to our head. I'm hearing Homer Simpson say "Doh," right now by the way.

In the Australian news clip posted at, a prominent brain surgeon asks all his brain cancer patients the same question. Dr. Teo asks,
You know your cancer is in the right side of your brain, it's in the area just above your ear, can you tell me if you feel that you've had more exposure than most people to mobile phones?' and I'm always surprised most people say, 'yes, I've used my phone continuously for the last seven years and it's always stuck to my ear on this side.' And I say, 'Well, that's where the cancer is.'"
Yes, this is anecdotal evidence as opposed to statistical or direct biological cause and effect, but consider that most of the studies regarding cell phone dangers were funded by the telecom industry, and they have tried mightily to bury the findings. Not enamored with ominous results from their own studies, the telecom industry elected to "let go" their chief health scientist, Dr. George Carlo. According to an article on Life Extension, "George Carlo, PhD, JD, is an epidemiologist and medical scientist who, from 1993 to 1999, headed the first telecommunications industry-backed studies into the dangers of cell phone use." The majority of the studies ended up showing clear health risks from cell phone usage, not the least of which is brain cancer.

Dr. Carlo now runs The Safe Wireless Initiative to spread news of studies about wireless dangers. Mysteriously, Dr. Carlo was hired due to his stellar reputation, but since leaving the telecom industry his credentials have been under attack from the cell phone industry and his home mysteriously burned down. You can read about his battle with the industry in this Life Extension article.

The good news for cell phone users is that the signal drops off precipitously within 6 or so inches of the phone, so keeping it away from your body goes a long way toward protection. I also use a blue tube wired head set that "is quite a contraption," according to my neighbor, but it stops the radiation at a mouthpiece that hangs at my chin. A newer version of this headset provides louder incoming sound than the original version, and also sports a convenient retracting cord. (FYI, regular wired headsets without the stethoscope-like blue tube are thought to actually concentrate the signal at your head by receiving ambient radio waves, much like an antenna.)

As for wireless, I keep our network off at all times. My husband insists on turning it on, but as soon as he is gone, I flip the switch.

My motto: better safe than sorry. I've already had the bad luck of being so ill that I felt like I was 90 years old at age 30. I'm finally recovering, hopefully for good, and am not willing to risk any other illness. Above all, I want to protect my kids.

Now, how do I write a note to my neighbors about their wireless network pollution, asking them to at least turn it off when they are asleep or not at home? Does anyone have a template I can use?

Below is the Australian news clip: (Email subscribers, go to Med Nauseum to view video.)
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