Wireless Overload (Part 1): Are We ‘CELL-ing’ Out Our Kids?

It was September 2009, and I was attending a classical concert in the hip skiing town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  A well-dressed woman sat down next to me and turned to pay me a compliment on my dress (Diane Von Furstenburg knock-off!). I thanked her warmly and without missing a beat, she asked if I had kids. “Yes”, I told her. Her next question was unexpected, “Do they have cell phones?”

 Dr Devra Davis 

Dr Devra Davis 

And that’s how I met the Dr. Devra Davis, an award-winning, internationally renowned scientist who heads up the Environmental Health Trust (http://ehtrust.org) - the only nonprofit in the world that both carries out high-level critical research on controllable environmental health hazards and works directly with local communities, teachers, parents and students as well as policy makers to understand and mitigate these hazards through research, education and advocacy.

That’s right – she is plugged in!

Her book, Disconnect (selected by TIME in 2010 as a 'must read') provides shocking detail about cell phone radiation. In her own words, “this is the most important and unrecognized public health issue of our time.  If we act, we could avert a global catastrophe.

Dr Davis said those words over a decade ago.

If you haven’t already heard, there is increased concern globally about exposure to cell phone radiation, especially when it comes to kids.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “children are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation.”

Let me explain:

Prior to 2003, studies of cancer risk and cell phone use produced conflicting results. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured the public that scientists had found no harmful health effects from exposure to cell phone emissions. This was despite the fact that they did no pre-market safety testing nor did they perform research to determine a safe level of Wireless Radiation.

However, most concerning of all, was that these studies were based on exposure of adults, not children - adults who had used cell phones for just 3 years, not long enough to develop any types of cancer. 

Does it matter that radiation exposure studies were based on adults, not children?

IT MATTERS … According to research compiled by EHTrust.org:]

  • Childrens’ systems are still developing, so even small insults can result in large impacts later in life.
  • Equally important, their smaller stature, thinner skulls and unique body makeup result in radiofrequency radiation penetrating their brains and bodies more deeply than large adults.
  •  
 Children have thinner skulls which allow for deeper penetration of radio frequency radiation than adults

Children have thinner skulls which allow for deeper penetration of radio frequency radiation than adults

So what can this mean for your kid(s) if they use a cell phone?

Research is on-going, but in 2007 Dr. Lennart Hardell, a distinguished Oncologist and his research team at Orebro University in Sweden showed that children who start using a mobile phone as teenagers (which unfortunately, we know is late for getting a first cell phone) were at risk of developing 4 to 8 times more brain cancers on the side of their head where they held the phone, than those who began to use phones later in life. (1)(2)

I know … that’s a frightening statistic.

Worse still, this research only looked at teenagers - not at younger children using cell phones from an earlier age, which sadly is the reality these days.

With this concerning research, are government bodies doing anything to protect our children?

The ehtrust.org website states that:

  • Berkeley California has passed an Ordinance informing people about the radiation emissions from their phones.
  • Over 20 countries have precautionary policies in place.
  • Russia, the UK, Canada, and many other countries discourage the use of cell phones by children.
  • France and Belgium have actually banned the sale of phones to children.
  • Believe it or not, Toronto, Canada also limits Wi-Fi in public parks.

Next time, MORE on the dangers of cell phones and what YOU can do to help reduce cellphone radiation for your kids.

References

(1)         http://www.radiationresearch.org/pdfs/royal_society_hardell.pdf

(2)         http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2569116/