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Hello? Some news you may not want to hear

Robert Downes - May 10th, 2010
Remember those old commercials: “This is your brain on drugs,” where they
showed a blob sizzling in a frying pan? Well it turns out that drugs
aren’t the problem: it’s your cell phone.
Not to mention your wi-fi hub, iPad, laptop, and all of the other wireless
gadgets filling up your life. Like a vampire bat that refuses to buzz off,
studies involving the link between wireless technology and cancer keep
coming back to bite us.
“The only honest way to think of our cell phones is that they are tiny,
low-powered microwave ovens without walls, that we hold against the side
of our heads,” writes Christopher Ketcham in the February issue of GQ
magazine.
Ketcham offers a rundown of numerous studies coming out of Europe on the
effects of microwave radiation via our digital phones and wi-fi
connections. Interesting to note, at a time when Traverse City is striving
to establish a free, city-wide wi-fi system, Germany is urging its
citizens to avoid wi-fi altogether.
(By the way, those of you who are reading this online may wish to move
your laptops off your laps and onto a table, because you may be
irradiating your testicles or ovaries with microwaves... not a good idea.)
Five years ago, there was a flurry of controversy over the death of
Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson. Cochran was a
heavy cell phone user who died of a brain tumor on the same side of his
head as his phone hand. Predictably, digital phone companies came up with
their own studies and scientists who said the danger of cell phone usage
was all bosh, and don’t worry about it.
But to paraphrase Cochran: if the digital phone danger fits, we must not
quit investigating it.
On Wall Street, GQ reports that an unusually high number of day traders
in their mid-30s have been afflicted with brain tumors. Coincidentally,
these traders hang on their phones all day for years on end, and their
doctors tend to believe there‘s a connection.
But it’s not just urban phone addicts who are at risk. A 2005 study in
Sweden found that “people who lived in rural areas who had been using a
digital phone for more than three years were three times more likely to be
diagnosed with a brain tumor than those living in urban areas.”
Since then, there have been a flood of studies on the risks of radiation
from digital phones and wi-fi transmitters. Ketcham notes that these
studies have come primarily from Europe‘s top research centers, linking
cell phones and PDAs to “brain aging,” brain tumors, early-onset
Alzheimer’s, DNA damage, senility, sperm die-off and testicular cancer
(the latter because many men carry their phones in their pockets or on
their belts).
Here’s more:
• In 2008, scientists from 13 countries took part in an “Interphone” study
which reported that the chance of getting a brain tumor on the same side
of your head as your phone hand goes up by as much as 40%.
• Israeli scientists have traced a connection between digital phones and
cancer of the salivary gland.
• Last year, Swedish scientists reported that people who started using
cell phones before the age of 20 were five times more likely to be
afflicted by brain tumors.
• In 1999, Stanford University reported chromosomal changes in blood
cells when they were subjected to the same kind of radiation emitted by
cell phones.
These studies are just the tip of the iceberg, with additional concerns
over the hazards of living near cell phone towers which emit microwaves.
Sabotage is on the rise around the world, with worried, sickened citizens
destroying towers in Ireland, Spain, Australia, Israel and other
countries.
Love your laptop? Then consider this. Blake Levitt, the author of a book
on protecting yourself from electromagnetic radiation, reports that wi-fi
operates at the same frequency as a microwave oven, “but is embedded with
a wider range of modulations than cell phones, because we need it to carry
more data.”
He says that installing wi-fi transmitters in our homes, schools,
libraries and coffee shops is like “inviting a cell tower indoors.”
Europe is moving to scale down its use of wi-fi, with the systems being
yanked from government buildings in a number of countries. In addition to
Germany warning its citizens against going wireless, the national library
of France has just announced that it will shut down its wi-fi system.
Austria is urging a ban on wi-fi in all schools.
So far, however, Americans have generally turned a deaf ear to the dangers
of digital phones, wi-fi and cell towers. It’s the news that no one wants
to hear.
You meet a lot of people who are head over heels in love with their cell
phones these days. Digital phones have become the bling of the 2010s.
Whether you’re packing an iPhone, a Blackberry or one of the new Droids,
your phone is a status symbol imbued with near-magical powers. How else
could you have 500,000 aps in the palm of your hand? Or all of the
movies, MP3 files, stock quotes, weather reports or webpages you care to
download? Like the charms of a voodoo sorcerer, digital phones have
gained a mystical power over us zombies who can no longer live without
them.
Then too, Ketcham notes that the digital phone and wi-fi industry is
collecting hundreds of billions of dollars per year in revenues and has
plenty of incentive to hide the risk of brain tumors in the same way that
Big Tobacco, asbestos manufacturers and pesticide companies hid or
suppressed research that could have saved millions of lives.
All of this wouldn’t matter much if cell phones and wi-fi were just the
province of middle-aged phone geeks. You get to a certain age and your bad
habits and addictions make you expendable.
But consider that on the average, an American teenager sends out 50 texts
per day and is now connected to a wi-fi device nearly every waking minute.
This is the first generation being raised with nearly constant exposure to
microwaves. Where will that take us?

Protect yourself:
• Devra Davis, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for
Environmental Oncology, says to use a speakerphone or an earpiece instead
of holding your cell phone to your ear. Even a matter of inches “reduces
radiation exposure dramatically.”
• Use a landline at home and get rid of radiation-emitting cordless phones.
• Ditch your wi-fi in favor of an Ethernet cable, or place your wi-fi hub
as far away as possible.
• Avoid living or working near a cell phone tower.
• Don’t carry your phone in your pants pocket or on your belt.

-- Excerpted from “Move Away from Your Cell Phone,” GQ magazine, Feb.
2010.


 
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