Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cell Phones and Cancer

Dear Reader, (http://www.hsibaltimore.com/ealerts/freecopy.html
This hurts me just as much as it may hurt you. I confess, I'm a pretty regular cell phone user, so I've been disturbed by studies and reports that suggest a possible link between cell phone use and cancer. What's been missing is an analysis of long-term cell phone studies – something that's been hard to come by because cell phone use has been a widespread phenomenon for only slightly more than a decade.But now those first long-term studies are in, an analysis has been done, and the results are disturbing to say the least.

------------Calling out around the world----------------------

An x-ray creates ionizing radiation – a type of radiation that can increase cancer risk by disrupting normal DNA activity in your body's cells. Cell phones and microwave ovens emit non-ionizing radiation that does not affect DNA. So in theory, cell phones don't cause cancer – not by prompting DNA damage at any rate.But a 2005 study in Turkey showed that long-term exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RFEMF) from cell phones could increase free radical levels in the brain, raising the risk of brain cancer. Again – nothing conclusive, just theory.

Which brings us to this new study from researchers at Sweden's Örebro University.
The Örebro team examined two cohort studies (in which medical records for subjects who used cell phones were compared to the records of subjects who didn't use cell phones) and 16 case-control studies (in which cell phone use among subjects with cancer was compared to cell use among healthy subjects). All of the subjects who used cell phones had used them for 10 years or more. The studies were conducted in the U.S., Japan, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Britain.

Analysis of the research produced these results:
Most of the studies found a link between cell use and increased tumor risk
Several studies found that cell phone users had an increased risk of malignant gliomas – cancers of the cells that protect nerve cells

Several studies found a link between cell phone use and a higher rate of acoustic neuromas – a benign tumor of the auditory nerve, which often results in deafness and balance problems
Tumors are more likely to occur on the side of the head that the cell handset is used
One hour of cell phone use per day significantly increases tumor risk after ten years or more

-----------The good with the bad-------------

There is a ray of good news here.
Professor Kjell Hansson Mild (one of the authors of the study) told the UK newspaper The Independent, that newer cell phones emit less radiation compared to phones that were on the market in the 90s.

But that's about it for the good news. The Independent also reports that previous research conducted by Professor Mild and his colleague Professor Lennart Hardell showed that consistent use of cordless phones present about the same risk as cell phones in the development of malignant glioma and acoustic neuromas.

The professors note that greatest risk is among children due to the relative thinness of their skulls and the fact that their brains and nervous systems are still growing.

And there's one more disturbing development. When I checked the web site for the American Cancer Society, I found a page titled "Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?" Here's what the ACS has to say: "This represents a legitimate area of scientific controversy and should not be dismissed as a myth."

Uh oh. When an organization as seriously mainstream as the ACS doesn't rubber-stamp the cell/cancer link as bunk, you know someone in the medical establishment is nervous about this topic. Where to get Electropollution protection

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