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Your Cell Phone May Be Putting Your Baby at Risk, but Can You Give it Up?

Posted Aug 25 2009 6:44pm

A flurry of emails has been flying around the web warning that cell phone use could be risky business for you and, if you have one, your baby. As an avid multitasker who has mastered talking on the cell phone while doing ten other things, baby in hand, I decided to do a little research to see, well, what the research says.

After poking around on this issue, I can tell you that I’m worried. I’ve passed a few of the articles I’ve found to my husband and he’s so worried that he is planning to deactivate our wireless router and hard-wire both of our computers this week-and he’s constantly turning my Blackberry off. This causes a bit of bickering given how dependent I’ve become on that damn little device. It’s the number I use for my consulting business, I use it for email and texting when I un-tether myself from my computer, and, like most people, my friends and family try me there first. Now, friends think I’ve forgotten them and clients think I’m a flake because I don’t answer their calls and don’t return messages for days until I’ve discovered them (my mommy brain can’t seem to remember to check messages if my phone isn’t on to tell me that I have them). The bickering stops as soon as my husband says “Would you rather scramble little Emerson’s brain?”

So, turning off, or, God forbid, getting rid of my Blackberry, is a rather daunting proposition. It is part of what makes me a functioning member of society. I feel at one with Obama every time I see a picture of him squinting at his little screen, typing like a mad man. I can’t remember what life was like without it, just like I can’t imagine life without the Internet (are they going to tell us that we have to go back to type writers and faxing too)?

Behavior change is hard, but, by golly, after what I’ve read, I’m going to do it for my baby.

If you want to dig deeper on this issue, here are a few resources:

1.  How to Raise Chemical-Free Kids: Non-Toxic solutionsfrom Dierdre Imus, The Daily Green

Imus, the author of the popular Green This! book series and founder of the Hackensack Children’s Oncology Center, suggests using the Precautionary Principle as an approach to cell phone use. She mentions that cell phone use tied to increased cancer rates is still highly debated but that studies have, in fact, found nerve cell damage and albumen leakage in mammalian brains from cell phones’ microwave frequencies.

2.  10 Ways to Limit Health Risk from Cell Phones, from Alexandre Zissu, The Daily Green

Zissu, author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy, mentions in her article that France has banned cell phone use in elementary schools. She also provides a list of precautionary practices to help parents keep cell phone radiation at a minimum for you and your child.

3.  Your Cell Phone and Brain Tumors, from Dr. Mercola,

Mercola features a TV news story that recently ran in Australia that mentions a new study in Australia just released on a clear link between cell phone use and malignant brain tumors. In fact, they estimate that cell phone use doubles the rate of brain cancer. This raises huge concerns about the world’s childrens’ and teens’ rampant use of cell phones. Mercola also provides links to additional studies here in the U.S. and abroad that have shown other health risks linked to cell phone use. In his article, he likens the use of cell phones to doctor- and government-sanctioned use of cigarettes in the first half of the 20th century, attempting an answer to the question “If cell phones are so bad, how could they possibly be legal?”

4. CNET’s Quick Guide lists the 20 highest-radiation cell phones and the 20 lowest

Unfortunately my Blackberry Curve from Verizon is number 6. Huh.

5. Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern.  Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone, from the Electro Magnetic Radiation Research Trust

This one is a doozy. This report, hot off the press today, provides up-to-date research on the link between cell phones and brain cancer and comes down hard on a global telecommunications industry’s study on the health risks of cell phone usage (as you would imagine, the Interphone study is quite soft on the issue, and, apparently, they’ve been slow to release what they’ve found). Here is an opening quote from one of the EMRT report’s endorsers:

“In a world where a drug cannot be launched without proof that it is safe, where the use of herbs and natural compounds available to all since Egyptian times are now questioned, their safety subjected to the deepest scrutiny, where a new food cannot be launched without prior approval, the idea that we can use mobile telephony, including masts, and introduce WiFi and mobile phones without restrictions around our 5 year olds is double-standards gone mad. I speak, not just as an editor and scientist that has looked in depth at all the research, but as a father that lost his beloved daughter to a brain tumour.” Chris Woollams, Editor, Integrated Cancer and Oncology News, Icon Magazine

Let’s hope that the concerns being raised today about cell phone use linked to health risks are exaggerated. In the meantime, the Precautionary Principle sounds good to me. Friends, call me on the land line.

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