Are Cell Phones (mobile phones) really safe?

2014 Research

Do you honestly believe that radiation from cell phones, masts and WiFi is 100% safe?

Dr Dariusz Leszczynski, Adjunct Professor, Division of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki and a member of a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries drawn together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that classified cell phone radiation as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ has recently commented publicly on the changes taking place in the research and classification of the dangers of mobile phones.


In summary


1. Leading cell phone operators and manufacturers are withdrawing funding for research, leading to closing down of laboratories studying effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields as emitted by cell phones and cell towers.


2. The team of 31 scientists assembled by IARC agreed that mobile phones could not be said to be safe and were categorised as 2B – ‘a possible carcinogen to humans’. This means that there are enough studies indicating they might cause cancer.


3. The strongest evidence that it might be causing cancer comes from three epidemiological studies. In 2011, two sets of studies were available – EU’s Interphone study and a series of studies from Lennart Hardell’s group in Sweden. Recently, CERENAT study from France published in 2014, similarly indicated that persons using cell phones for more than ten years and for half hour per day are at a higher risk for developing brain cancer. In fact, now the evidence is sufficient to consider cell phone radiation as a probable carcinogen – Group 2A in IARC’s scale of carcinogenicity.


4. Our research has shown that human cells exposed in laboratory to cell phone radiation activated series of biochemical reactions in them known as ’stress response,’ which means that the living cells recognise cell phone radiation as a potentially harmful agent. Stress responses are signals that intend to protect the living cell from any potential damage.


5. The International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection (which sets standards for EMFs), or ICINRP, is an organisation of scientists, claiming that they are independent in their scientific opinions. However, there is a major problem – ICNIRP selects members in fashion resembling “private club” practices. The current members of ICNIRP select new members. This model leads to situation where all ICNIRP members have the same opinion on the dangers of cell phone radiation. When all ICNIRP scientists have the same opinion there is no need for scientific debate – there is a prior, existing consensus. This was not the case in the WHO’s IARC evaluation, where scientists with diverse, often opposing opinions were invited.


6. ICNIRP safety standards for radiation emissions from cell phones and cell towers may not be sufficient to protect people. The IARC classification of cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen invalidates the protective claims of the current ICNIRP safety standards. In epidemiological case-control studies evaluated by IARC (Interphone and Hardell) and published after IARC evaluation (CERENAT), adult participants used regular, off-the-shelf, cell phones. These cell phones were built to fulfill ICNIRP safety standards. However, avid use of such "ICNIRP-safe phones," for period of over 10 years, led to an increased risk of brain cancer. This means that the current safety standards do not protect sufficiently users of cell phones and this also casts a doubt over the validity of safety standards set for cell towers.


7. There is a discussion in Australia, Canada, US, Europe about the possibility of harm caused by Wi-Fi. Some school principals are banning Wi-Fi, due to pressure from parents of the children. Grass root movements of parents concerned with Wi-Fi in schools is, in some cases, very strong. Wi-Fi radiation is similar to that emitted by cell phones and cell towers, which have been classified as a ‘possible’ carcinogen.


We can be legitimately concerned about what might happen to children, who are very young and spend seven to eight hours continuously exposed to Wi-Fi radiation. It is a responsible precautionary measure to ban Wi-Fi in schools. There are places where providing wired internet is not possible, like in railway stations or airports, but in schools wired internet is possible to install. There is no real need for Wi-Fi for schools.


2014 Research
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