New Cell Phone Study Sees Health Risk

Countless studies have been conducted on the links between <"">cell phones and cancer, with seemingly conflicting results; however, a new study is blaming the ubiquitous devices on a variety of issues, including the disappearance of critical wildlife, saying that the devices do pose significant health risks, wrote The Times of India.

Radiation from cell phones and towers is being linked to memory loss, concentration issues, digestive problems, and sleep “disturbances,” said The Times of India, citing an inter-ministerial committee created by the ministry of communications and information technology to look at Cell Phone Health Risks. In addition to citing health problems from cell phones, the findings suggest that “the disappearance of butterflies, bees, insects, and sparrows” from larger cities is related to the radiation from cell phones.

The committee of eight included representatives from India’s health ministry, department of biotechnology, and member secretary Department of Transportation (DoT), which recommended that devices not in compliance with standard levels of specific absorption rate (SAR) be banned, said The Times of India. SAR measures the radiofrequency absorbed by the body when a phone is being used.

Experts also said, noted The Times of India, that cell towers should not be erected in high-density residential locations containing schools, play grounds, and hospital facilities. “The localized SAR value as per the Indian guidelines standard is 2 watt per kg, averaged over a six minute period and using a 10 gram average mass. With higher SAR values of mobile handsets the public could potentially receive much higher radiofrequency exposure. We have recommended that SAR levels to be lowered down to 1.6 watt/kg, as prescribed by the Federal Communication Commission of US,” said a member.

Dr. R. S. Sharma, an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist representing the health ministry on the committee, explained that the committee looked at case studies from a variety of experts and said the recommendations would be used to create a “national policy and guidelines on the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation for telecom towers,” said The Times of India.

“In the case of a person using a cell phone, most of the heating occurs on the surface of the head, causing its temperature to increase by a fraction of a degree. The brain blood flow is capable of disposing this excess by increasing the local blood flow and increasing body temperature,” states the report. The report also explained that nonthermal, electromagnetic effects created in body’s cells, are even more dangerous, reported The Times of India.

“People who are chronically exposed to low-level wireless antenna emissions and users of mobile handsets have reported feeling several unspecific symptoms during and after its use, ranging from burning and tingling sensation in the skin of the head, fatigue, sleep disturbances, dizziness, lack of concentration, ringing in the ears, reaction time, loss of memory, headache, disturbance in digestive system, and heart palpitation,” the report said. The report suggests children, teens, and pregnant women avoid overusing cell phones and that everyone should use hands-free devices and that “People having active medical implants should keep their cell phone at least 30 cm away from the implant,” it added.

Said Girish Kumar, professor in the department of electrical engineering at IIT Bombay and an expert whose research was used said, “There is a 400% increase in the risk of brain cancer among teenagers using cell phones for long periods. The younger the child, the deeper is the penetration of electromagnetic radiation as children’s skulls are thinner,” quoted The Times of India.

A separate study on radiation from cells phones and towers, conducted at the Jawaharlal Nehru University revealed that radiation exposure could negatively impact male fertility and deplete cells’ defense abilities, added The Times of India. Also, a number of other studies on which we have written have pointed to increases in brain cancer; tumors of the brain, eye, testicles, and salivary glands; and nonHodgkin’s lymphoma, from cell phone usage.

In 2008, we wrote that the head of one of the country’s top cancer centers warned his staff that cell phones could be dangerous to their health. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers, issued an internal advisory memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff members advising them to take precautions to avoid the possible cancer risks of cell phones.

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