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Uncovering those 'phoney' truths - How mobiles affect your health
Jamaica Created: 10 Mar 2008
Less than 100 years ago, doctors regularly advised patients to take up cigarette smoking to aid in weight control. The notion that inhaling tobacco smoke could be harmful was regarded as alarmist, unfounded, almost superstitious.

A few generations later, lung cancer and several other cancers, and smoking-related heart disease, have become among the top causes of death. Smoking is now universally recognised as deadly. Now we shake our heads at our earlier stupidity.

There are now close to two billion cellular telephones in use around the globe, with Jamaica boasting more than its fair share. Here, everyone seems to have at least one cellphone. Question: Are cellphones safe, or are they the cigarettes of the new millennium?

Cellphones are highly compact ultra-high-frequency transceivers with antennas that just happen to be situated directly above the ear when the device is in use. Like cigarettes in the last century, the safety of the long-term use of cellphones has not yet been demonstrated.

In May 2005, a legal precedent was set in the US. California resident Sharesa Price, whose job involved using a cellphone several hours each day, developed a brain tumour. The courts awarded her US$30,000 for medical expenses and she may be the first person to convince a judge that her illness was caused by radio-frequency radiation from a cellphone. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, October 2, 2005).

In 1993, Dr George Carlo, a public health scientist, was given US$25 million by the cellphone industry to do research that would reassure the public about the safety of their products. When his studies began revealing worrying trends, he was dismissed. His book Cell Phones - Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age should be compulsory reading for our local health and technology leaders. Here are some of his findings:

DAMAGE TO BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER

The brain is extremely sensitive to chemicals and, to survive and maintain brain function, humans have developed specific protections for the brain. One such protection is a special filter that keeps harmful chemicals from entering the brain. It is called the blood brain barrier. Radio frequency radiation (RFR), emitted from the antennas of mobile phones, interferes with the blood brain barrier and allows toxic substances access to the tissues of the brain.

GENETIC DAMAGE

There is conclusive evidence from several researchers that radiation from cellphones causes genetic damage to human blood cells. This damage leads to an increased risk of cancer.

HEADACHES

The more one uses a cellphone, the greater the occurrence of headaches, dizziness and general feelings of discomfort. Increasing the use of these instruments from less than two minutes to more than 60 minutes per day, for example, made symptoms worse by over 600 per cent.

CANCER

Studies in the US, Canada and Poland on people exposed to RFR indicate an increased risk of brain, lung and blood cancers. The experts, however, agree that more specific research on cancer in cellphone users is urgently needed.

MOTOR ACCIDENTS

There is a statistically significant increase in the risk of death because of motor vehicle accidents among users of mobile phones regardless of whether the phone was hand-held or had an external antenna.

CHILDREN AND CELLPHONES

The radiation that emanates from a cellphone antenna penetrates much deeper into the heads of children than adults. Once it penetrates children's skulls, it enters their brain and eyes at an absorption rate far greater than it does in adults. These differences are profound and signify potentially serious health risks to children. Sadly, this did not prevent major players in the cellphone industry from mounting major advertisement campaigns targeting children.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Safety first! Restrict cellphone use/use a headset.

Minimise radiation exposure when using cellphones as much as possible.

Keep the antenna away from your body by using a phone with an earpiece or headset. Everyone should routinely use a headset with his or her cellphone.

If you must use a phone without an earpiece, extend the antenna as much as possible. When the antenna is recessed inside the phone, the entire instrument functions as the antenna - and the radiation is emitted from the entire phone into a wider area of your head, jaw and hand.

Children under the age of 10 should not use wireless devices of any type.

When the signal strength is low, e.g., inside some buildings, do not use your phone. The lower the signal strength, the greater the radiation emitted from the antenna.

Do not use hand-held phones while driving a vehicle.

Add up the number of minutes you spend using a cellphone daily and try to cut down by 30 per cent or more.

Increase your body's resistance to radiation

Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.

Supplement with the antioxidant ACES - vitamins A, C, E, the mineral selenium and the omega-3 fatty acids.

Supplement with the herbs - schizandra, rosemary, green tea, ginkgo biloba, pycnogenol and garlic.

Avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol, chemical pollutants and other sources of radiation like microwave ovens.

Get lots of fresh air, clean water and sunshine - natural healing tools.

Do a detoxification/cleansing programme every three to four months.

Remember, your health is in your hands, especially when you are holding a cellphone. The more powerful a tool, the greater its potential to help as well as harm.
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Source: Jamaica Gleaner, Dr Anthony Vendryes, 10 Mar 2008

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