Sick from Cell Phones (Ziek van je mobieltje)
Dr. Devra Davis, American Epidemiologist, is shocked by research suggesting the potential health risks of mobile phones. She tours Europe, advising countries about protecting the population against mobile telephony risks, but has not been invited to the Netherlands.
The Dutch government takes no action because its consultants say nothing is wrong. The main advisory body is the Health Council which sees all the studies about the health risks of mobile phones. The spokesperson of the Health Council, Erik van Rongen, has said for years that nothing is wrong, whether it comes down to radiation from mobile phones, phone masts or other wireless devices.
The new alarming reports that say that mobile phones are potentially carcinogenic will not change this “consistent soothing arrangement” of the Health Council. Late last year, there was a letter to the government in which the Health Council announced again not to worry, this time about the risks of radiation from mobile devices for children. "It draws the conclusion that there is no evidence that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields has a negative impact on the development and functioning of the brains of children".
The Health Council finds something is wrong only if it is strictly proved. And until that is so, there is nothing wrong. “This is an arrangement that is very influential in the Netherlands, it is also good for telephone companies,” says Emeritus Professor Lucas Reijnders, University of Amsterdam, who has spent years studying the risks of radiation.
F. Weening, spokesperson for the association KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile, the three largest telephone providers in the Netherlands, states, “We look to the competent authorities, the ones whose recommendations we follow, which is a given that no relationship can be established between the use of mobile phones and occurrence of health effects.”
In several European countries, the government takes precautionary measures to protect its people against possible health risks of mobile phones. The Government in the Netherlands will take no action. The telecoms industry does not warn its customers. This industry earns tens of billions of euros. There are more mobile phones than people, over 20 million mobile phone connections. In order to protect these enormous interests, the telecoms industry investigates the health risks of mobile phones. Independent scientists are viewed with suspicion.
The first part of the film shows an expert measuring the levels of radiation in a home: DECT phone, Wi-Fi-connected computer, baby monitor …then, the interviewer asks young persons about their cell phone use. Most of the young persons interviewed were not aware of precautions to take when using cell phones.
A new phone is always accompanied by a manual that most people immediately throw away. Manufacturers know that a phone held next to the head exceeds maximum health standards. Almost nobody reads the fine print which says that the phone should be held at least half an inch from the ear.
If a mobile phone rings in a car, it emits more radiation than normal. The vehicle acts as a shield, and in that shielded environment, the phone has to use more power in order to establish the connection. If there are several people on the phone at the same time in a train or bus, then the radiation level “exceeds even the very high Dutch standards.”
Swedish cancer expert, Professor Leonard Hardell, who for years has studied thousands of patients with brain tumors, was interviewed: “There is an association between the use of mobile phones and brain tumors. We see a two times higher risk of brain tumors; the most malignant are gliomas, the kind on the side of the head where the phone is used. That is after ten years. For the worst kind of gliomas, life expectancy is very short, about six months. The same applies to benign tumors such as acoustic neuroma, the tumor on the auditory nerve. You usually do not die, but it causes hearing problems, tinnitus or even deafness on that side of the brain. That's scary, because our findings point to the beginning of an increase in the number of brain tumors.”
Children appear to be much more vulnerable to radiation from mobile phones than adults. The radiation penetrates further into their skulls. Stefan van Gool, a Belgian expert in the field of childhood cancer, University of Leuven, remarks, “That is one of the elements that worries us, radiation penetrates deeper in the skulls of children. They are much more exposed for much longer in their lives because they are much younger when they begin to use a cell phone. What the consequences will be, we will know only in fifty or sixty years so you can actually say this is a mega-sized experiment. As long as there are unknown factors involved, we would do well to expose our children to as low radiation as possible and we must teach them that these things should be avoided where possible. Use it, yes, but only when needed and not as a game.”
We would all do very well to heed the warnings and advice contained in this excellent film, especially to protect our children from the health risks of mobile telephony.
(Translation of part of the script from Dutch by Google and Meris Michaels)