by Subrata Chakravarty,
hope4cancer.com, 1st June 2015
What has it got in it’s nasty little pocketses?” asks Gollum, as he furiously tries to guess what is in Bilbo the Hobbit’s pocket.
This was a pivotal scene in theHobbit and Lord of the Ringstrilogies set in Tolkien’s mythical Middle Earth. The object in the pocket was nothing less than the ultimate Ring of Power that Bilbo had found on the floor of Gollum’s cave.
In today’s real world, Gollum wouldn’t have had a problem. He would know the obvious answer – a cell phone, of course!
Arguably more powerful than Sauron’s Ring-t0-Rule-Them-All, cell phones are ubiquitous in our lives. We can’t really call them phones anymore since most of us spend more time on them for activities other than mere phone calls.
But could we be carrying a silent time bomb in our pockets? Recent work is making it increasingly clear that there is indeed a causal relationship between cell phones and various diseases and conditions – including cancer.
A recent investigation pointing to the fact has raised eyebrows since it has come from an interesting source – a prominent researcher who, for years, labeled the “cell phones cause cancer” hypothesis as “bad science”.
We discuss this study and several others, and then discuss the top reasons why cell phones could be causing cancer. Finally, we give you some working tips on how to minimize your risk.
I truly believe this is an article that everyone should read carefully. It is not necessarily comprehensive, and is certainly a work in progress. However, it gives you enough information to ensure that you do not take this matter lightly. We will be publishing more articles as we learn more about this important topic.
But let us first start with Dr. Alex Lerchl.
The Lerchl Story: Cell Phone Radiation and Cancer
The radio frequency causes cancer story took a remarkable turn a few days ago. A new animal study has now challenged assumptions that claim that radio frequencies from cell phones, cell towers and other Wi-Fi sources are, indeed, safe.
The principal investigator was a German researcher, Alex Lerchl. In a study sponsored by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, he replicated an earlier experiment on the effect of weak cell phone signals on the growth of tumors in mice. He found a result that he did not expect which contradicted his existing dogma – a positive correlation. What was even more concerning was that “lower doses were often found to be more effective tumor promoters than higher levels; in effect, turning the conventional concept of a linear dose-response on its head.”
Alex Lerchl has, for years, charged that the only science that claims that low-level radio frequency can have health effects is bad science. Lerchl repeated the work of Thomas Tillmann reported in 2010 which went largely unnoticed. But now the world is seemingly more interested with Lerchl’s corroboration of Tillmann’s work.
“Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors,” says Lerchl in a press release issued by Jacobs University in Bremen. His work was published in the peer reviewed Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications journal.
Our Results Show that Electromagnetic Fields Obviously Enhance the Growth of Tumors” – Alex Lerchl”
This is the same man who, in 2007, claimed that “non-thermal high frequency EMF have no adverse health effects” based on inconclusive results from prior experiments. He also wrote many critical letters about the subject, virtually ostracizing researchers and editors who embraced this controversial subject. (source: RF Animal Cancer Promotion).
The Lung Cancer and Cell Phones Connection
While most radiofrequency–cancer studies have looked at radio frequency associations with brain tumors, as well as acoustic neuroma, there is a precedent for a link to lung cancer seen by Lerchl. In 1994, a major French and Canadian epidemiological study found a “strong” association between pulsed EMF signals and lung cancer among electric utility workers. The nature of that link could not be sorted out because the sponsor, Hydro-Québec, blocked further access to the data set (source:RF Animal Cancer Promotion).
EMF Radiation from Smart Meters
Not too long ago, the local public works department showed up and replaced meters in our homes with smart meters. These meters could be read from a distance because they could transmit the data automatically – using radio frequencies in the cell phone range. Most of us did not think much of it.
However, according to stopsmartmeters.org, thousands of people have complained of tinnitus, headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, heart arrhythmia, and other symptoms after a smart meter was installed. Smart meters are being installed all around the world and can exceed the already high FCC limits on human exposure to microwave radiation and are not optional even in homes of people who have “electro-sensitivity” – meaning that they demonstrate symptoms at much lower doses of radiation. There have been some concerns whether ‘smart’ meters may cause interference with pacemakers and other implants.
Should this perceived “threat” be ignored?
Consider this: This year, a leading insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, has put in an exclusion clause called “Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion” for all policy holders, that denies coverage for conditions related to exposure to wireless devices. The lawsuits are coming and the insurance companies are getting prepared. Is there something that they know that we do not? (Source: Cancers and other diseases caused by EMF radiation from cell phones, mandatory smart meters will not be covered by insurance).
The Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Cancer
Dr. Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg from the University of Örebro in Sweden analyzed two case-controlled studies made up of nearly 1,500 brain cancer patients diagnosed with brain tumors between the years 1997-2003 and 2007-2009.
After excluding patients that used hands-free devices, and accounting for gender, age and year of diagnosis, these researchers concluded that the risk of developing a glioma (a malignant brain cancer) was increased by cell phone use. Worse yet, it was found that heavy users had a 2-fold greater risk of developing a glioma compared to light users. The correlation included cordless home phones as well, and the risk increased with the number of years exposed.
(Source: New Study Finds Heavy Cell Phone Use Can Increase Your Risk Of Deadly Brain Cancer by 300%)
This study identified glioma and acoustic neuroma as the two main brain related conditions that were connected with cell phone radiation. While acoustic neuroma is technically not a malignant cancer, it does unfortunately increase intracranial pressure. In the limited volume area of the cranium, this can rapidly progress to life-threatening proportions.
A study of 790,000 women showed that continued cell phone use over 10 years resulted in a 2-1/2 fold greater risk of developing acoustic neuroma.
Are Cell Phones Dangerous? It Appears Increasingly So …
As cell phones have evolved, so has their frequency. At about 5 MHz, today’s smartphones have a 5-fold greater bandwidth than first generation cell phones. The correlation at the higher frequencies increases brain cancer risk by 4 times!
A Biological Mechanism That Could Link Cell Phones and Cancer
Dindic and co-workers published a review in 2013 entitled “Cytogenetic Damages Induced by Chronic Exposure to Microwave Non-Ionizing Radiofrequency Fields” showing how cell phone radiation could be causing cancer. While the National Cancer Institute states that radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is dangerous because of its heating effect of cells, these researchers believe that exposure to this radiation causes a high level of oxidative stress in cells – this results in the creation of free radicals, in particular, peroxynitrite, that is capable of breaking single-strand DNA. Genetic alteration can lead to cancer. That means that a “heating effect” is not a necessary precursor to observed biological impact.
This could also explain why the incidence is still low enough for the subject to be controversial. Only a fraction of cell phone exposure is likely to lead to genetic change, but long term exposure could result in increasing risk of a “genetic event” happening in the body – and even the National Cancer Institute verifies that cancer begins in a cell through a genetic disturbance in the DNA.
“Is The Threat Real?” Why It is Hard to Break the Belief Barrier
We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Over an evolution period of a short 15 years or so, our cell phones today are close enough to be considered an additional appendage. In addition to that, radiofrequency sources abound in every nook and cranny within and without our homes and workplaces. This seemingly irreversible dependence makes most people take only a sidelong view, at best, at the accumulating evidence.
Continuing high level studies that encourage big companies and law makers to take notice is of great importance so that they may influence changes from the top down.
One of the biggest issues facing people on issues with a “controversial” tag on them has always been the demand for proof. In many subjects, proof is easily available. However, in cases such as cell phones and cancer, absolute proof is somewhat elusive.
But in some cases such as this one, all we need to do is take a hard look at history and learn from it. Says Michael Kundi, head of the Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna and participant in the BioInitiative Report about radiofrequency effects (discussed below):
“Authors emphasize that no increased risk was detected overall. But this is not unexpected. No exposures to carcinogens that cause solid tumors like brain cancer or lung cancers, for example from tobacco and asbestos have ever been shown to significantly increase cancer risk in people with such short duration of exposure. The latency period for brain cancer is 15-30 years.”
So even though the available proofs can be challenged by a biased community, one thing is clear based on the old, well-known adage, “You either learn from history, or you are condemned to repeat it.”
City of Berkeley to Require Cell Phone Health Warning
Many things change from a people’s movement, but it takes inspired action at higher levels to drive change rapidly. Some glimpses of that kind of change are slowly becoming visible.
A landmark cellphone “Right to Know” law was passed with a unanimous 9-0 vote by the city council of Berkeley, California, home of the world renowned University of California Berkeley and arguably one of the most erudite cities in the world.
This is the first safety ordinance of its kind in the United States and will require cell phone makers to include a city-prepared notice letting people know the minimum separation a cell phone must be held from the body to limit radiofrequency exposure to safe levels.
The Cellular Telephone Industries Association will fight the law based on its violation of their First Amendment Rights where they claim that they are being forced to say things that they may not agree with!
Lawmakers in six states have also considered adding warnings to address this issue, but no action has been taken yet.
10 Reasons Why You Should Believe that Cell Phones and Cancer Are Connected, or “I Am On The Fence, Tell Me Something That Will Convince Me”
In addition to what we have already discussed above, let us look at ten reasons why you should at least consider taking some actions to protect yourself :
1. Cellular Damage: T-Mobile conducted an independent study to review research on the risks of radiofrequency from wireless devices. Their conclusion:
“On the cellular level, a multitude of studies found the type of damage from high frequency electromagnetic fields which is important for cancer initiation and cancer promotion.”
2. Significantly Increased Risk of Glioma: A US $25 Million international level glioma study sponsored by Interphone was recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. They found that the risk of gliomas went up by 40% for people who have used cell phones for at least half an hour a day over 10 years.
In the same study, it was found that ““tumors were more likely to occur on the side of the head most used for calling”.
David Carpenter, MD MPH, the co-editor of this Bioinitiative Report, has some sound advice for all:
“While this study is not perfect, the risks documented in it must be taken seriously as a warning to limit cell phone use, to restrict the use of cell phones, especially by children, and to call on manufacturers for redesign of cell phones and PDAs. It should also serve as a warning to governments that the deployment of new wireless technologies may bring risks to the public that are widespread, involuntary and increase long-term health care costs.”
3. Seven Scientists Review 23 Studies and Conclude ….: Seven prominent scientists got together to review 23 epidemiological studies that link cell phone radiation and cancer. The conclusions:
a. While there are obvious data variations, there is clear “harmful association” between cell phones and cancer.
b. The lower quality studies that showed data variations and “failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded.”
4. Meningioma: Researchers in Sweden conducted a two-year study on the incidence of adult brain tumors and discovered an indication of increased risk of meningioma in the group that had higher cumulative use.
5. Thyroid Cancer: Israeli scientists have found changes in thyroid cells when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. While no correlation with cancer was developed, this first evidence demonstrates the power of cell phone radiation in inducing changes to cells. The thyroid has long thought to be vulnerable to cell phone radiation given its proximity to where more people hold their cell phones.
6. Melanoma Risk: In 2013, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority reported that there was no evidence pointing to electromagnetic radiation being a health hazard. However, independent researchers have demonstrated a strong correlation between increased incidence of head melanoma with the advent of FM transmission and cell phones, demonstrating the official viewpoint to be a hollow endorsement for companies with vested interests in furthering radiofrequency technology.
7. Oral (Parotid Gland) Tumors: An Israeli study on 460 cases of parotid gland tumors found the following: “Based on the largest number of benign PGT patients reported to date, our results suggest an association between cellular phone use and PGTs [parotid gland tumors].” The parotid is the salivary gland near the cheek where many users hold their cell phone.
An analysis of the National Cancer Registry in Israel over a 36-year period found, “the total number of parotid gland cancers in Israel increased 4-fold from 1970 to 2006, whereas other major salivary gland cancers remained stable”.
8. Leukemia: In a report covering over a dozen studies, Dr. Neil Cherry from Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand demonstrated that radiation from cell phone, TV and radio towers, are connected with cancers, especially brain cancer and leukemia.
9. Multifocal Breast Cancer: In a case study publication, researchers and surgeons at Breastlink and the University of California in Irvine have reported the cases of 4 women who developed breast cancer. All four women were young and had been carrying their cellular phone around tucked in their brassieres for up to 10 hours a day, for many continuous years. They developed tumors in the areas directly under where they would keep their phones.
10. Diverse Cancerous Tumors: A Brazilian Study showed that “more than 81 percent of people who die in Belo Horizonte by specific types of cancer live less than 500 meters away from the 300 identified cell phone antennas in the city“. The cancers involved were extremely diverse affecting the prostate, breast, lung, kidneys and liver.
There are many more studies that we could have abstracted here, but the goal was to convincingly illustrate rather than be comprehensive.
(source: 44 Reasons To Believe Cell Phones Can Cause Cancer)
How To Minimize Risk
It maybe impossible to eliminate risk, but we can certainly take steps to minimize exposure. Follow the tips below to help protect yourself:
1. Reduce Use of Cell Phone to Only Necessary Calls: Not too long ago, we used to survive without cell phones. Nowadays we find people stuck to their phones when they really do not have to. Cell phones are dangerous both when they are in use or not – as long as they are on, they are emitting radiation. Reducing use and turning it off when not needed is a good idea.
2. Keep Cell Phones Far Away from the Body: Your pocket, bra … these are dangerous places to put your phone, guaranteeing a high level of exposure over prolonged periods of time. Many people use a good quality, wired headset which may help to reduce exposure – but they keep the cell phone in their pockets while they are speaking. That certainly does not help.
3. Use Pre-Emptive Devices: Many companies offer products that counter the electromagnetic influences around you – active and passive sympathetic resonance technology happens to be one of them. The philosophy of these devices is as follows: We are both physical and energetic beings that exist in the same body. Our bodies are designed to align with the electromagnetic fields generated by the Earth. However, all other electromagnetic influences disrupt this alignment, that could potentially be related to downstream biological effects. These devices seek to negate these disturbances. Clinical studies and testimonials are reported. EMF shields are also available that prevent electromagnetic radiation to pass through them – but we found most of those options incredibly impractical.
4. Do Not Use in Poor Reception Areas: Many When your cell phone works harder, it has to release more radiation in attempts to connect to the closest cell phone towers.
So if Gollum were to ask you,”What has it got in it’s nasty little pocketses?” what would you say? If you don’t know what I am talking about, you need to watch The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. Or, better yet, just read the books – and make sure you turn off your cell phone when you read.
Let us open this up for discussion, what do you think about the effect of radiofrequency on health? Feel free to submit your comments below!
About the author
Dr. Chakravarty is the Chief Science and Technology Officer and member of the Hope4Cancer Executive Team. After serving for many years as a drug discovery scientist in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, his fascination with non-toxic, natural healing methods helped him transition as a researcher of natural medicine. He has been associated with Hope4Cancer Institute since 2007. His name is associated with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, articles, treatises, book chapters, marketing books, manuals and guides as well as 3 worldwide patents. With his unique background, Dr. Chakravarty brings a refreshing perspective to the world of integrative medicine, health and wellness. Visit his Google+ profile.