My whole life in the cell phone era I have been “available” by phone. Each ring I put that phone up to my head, and a little part of me wonders, like a smoker with a cigarette...."is this the one that kills me?"
As a physician I am the first one to admit that I am not a scientist or a researcher. I have no more insight into this issue than the average person, but I honestly can say that cell phones spook me.
So, lets look at what we do know.
A recently published 2012 BioInitiative Report states "bioeffects are clearly established and occur at very low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation. This information now argues for thresholds or guidelines that are substantially below current FCC and ICNIPR standards."
The report shines the spotlight on the link between exposure to EMFs and Autism, Fetal Exposure, Fertility, Alzheimer's Disease and other neurological and autoimmune disease effects.
What does this mean?
It means that the amount of radiation generated by cell phones can effect the body and brain. It also means that the effects may be causing diseases of the brain.
Lets look at the FDA viewpoint:
After 17 years the FCC is yet to review cell phone standards.
The concern lies in the impact from exposure to non-thermal electromagnetic fields. As far as the FCC is concerned, if there is no heating effect, there is no effects.
Translated, the FDA does not know.
Lets look at what the Centers for Disease Control has to say:
Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck. More research is needed because cell phone technology and how people use cell phones have been changing rapidly.
Notice the word consistent. This does not make me feel safer.
How about kids?
Here is what we know from Cancer Research UK:
The UK Chief Medical Officers advise that children and young people under 16 should only use mobile phones for essential purposes, and should keep all calls short. There is no evidence that mobile phones are damaging to children. But if mobile phone use does turn out to have health risks, children would be more at risk because
- They are young
- Their nervous systems are still developing
- Their skulls are thinner
The problem here is what I call 'cart before the horse' medicine, meaning that we are failing to use one of the most coveted principles in all of medicine, the precautionary principle. This is a simple rule, if you cannot prove that something is safe, do not do it.
We are violating this principle every single time we put that machine up to our head. In addition, the people who can least afford to violate this principle in our children, are violating the principle the most. (Just look at teenagers and cell phones)
As a physician, this really makes me nervous.
In conclusion, I ask each reader to consider using wired headphone, and keep calls to a minimum. I suggest that kids under 16 do not use cell phones, until we can reach any kind of agreement on safety.
I know this is precautionary, but isn’t that a good thing?