Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

18 July 2018

"Bad Luck" Cannot Explain More Cancers in Young Adults and Teens

We believe that this article has been inspired in part by Cece Doucette's very effective advocacy work in the state of Massachusetts.  See her recent presentation on wireless radiation before the Board of Health of the city of Ashland, MA.

"Bad Luck" Cannot Explain More Cancers in Young Adults and Teens
by Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH, Founder & President of Environmental Health Trust & Visiting Professor of Medicine The Hebrew University, thriveglobal.com, 17 July 2018

States advise reducing cell phone radiation 

Is it just bad luck that a young man who has been using his phone for hours a day since age 8 is diagnosed with deadly brain cancer at age 23? Or that a 21-year old young woman suddenly develops multiple breast cancers directly under the antennas of the phone she had stored in her bra? Or that a 24-year-old develops rectal cancer close to his blue-jeans back pocket now stamped with his phone’s faded outline?

Reflecting growing scientific indications of damage from microwave-radiating cell phones, bills before the Massachusetts legislature could reduce the contribution that cell phone radiation to these unexplained cancers in young adults. Educating about why and how to reduce phone radiation exposures has become a critical public health concern around the world. In advanced countries like Israel, France, and Belgium, phones must be sold with headsets and information about keeping phones away from the brain and body.

What’s driving the push to reduce phone radiation exposures? The World Health Organization reports a global increase of 13% in childhood cancer incidence. In the United Kingdom, rates of the same type of malignant brain cancer increased in regular cell phone users have risen while those of other forms of brain cancer have dropped. United States rates of malignant brain tumours have now surpassed leukemia as the top cause of cancer deaths in adolescents and young adults. Growing numbers of neurosurgeons believe that part of the explanation for this surge in gliomas lies in our love affair with phones. We have to ask whether they are right: does the unprecedented use of cellphones underlie these perplexing increases?

Whether climate change or pesticide-laden foods, the role of government of late seems to be to insist on proof that damage has already occurred before taking steps to reduce exposures. This turns on its head the basic public health concept: tis far better to prevent harm than to seek to repair it. If successful, Massachusetts is poised to join Connecticut, Maryland, and California as states that officially encourage reducing microwave-radiation exposures from phones by making a standard practice of using speaker-phones and headsets, putting phones in airplane mode when in a pocket, and other precautions to distance the device from our bodies.

This precautionary advice has not flowed simply from public health experts but has often emerged after protracted bureaucratic meanderings. Thus, with the strategic prompt of a lawsuit from the University of California, the Public Health Department of the State of California released precisely that same advice to reduce microwave radiation from cell phones in 2017. In spite of increasing numbers of scientific studies, the cell phone industry has long tried to keep the health hazards of this technology a secret--even going so far as to belittle the World Health Organization in the process. But all that is changing.

The National Toxicology Program issued a final report of its $25 million study that exposed rats to low levels of radiation for two years. Exposed animals developed DNA damage and significantly more highly aggressive heart and brain cancers, specifically schwannoma of the heart and gliomas in the brain – the same types of tumorsincreasing in young Americans. The distinguished scientists leading the study were so surprised and concerned about these findings, they felt obligated to inform regulatory agencies about this serious public health risk. During an unprecedented peer review of the findings, an independently convened group of industry and academic scientists concluded the study showed “clear evidence of cancer.”

The real-world implications are quite simple: If you walk around with a cell phone in your pocket, tuck your phone in your bra, rest it on your lap as you listen to music or against your forehead and eyes as you watch virtual reality, your body could beabsorbing 300-400% more radiation than current 20-year old regulatory limits allow. In fact, tests from the French government, released after prodding by Phonegate Alert, revealed that 9 out of 10 phones--including iPhone 5 and 250 other types-- exceeded current limits by between 2 to 5 fold.

To reduce the growing burden of cancer on young Americans, we need to ensure that the Right to Know trumps the Right to Profit. Massachusetts State Senator Julian Cyr is advancing this basic right and asks that outdated cell phone test systems and official exposure standards be modernized before any more "bad luck" befalls our younger generation. Let this important revolution in public health begin.

Devra Lee Davis is an award-winning scientist and writer, Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University and Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey, and President of Environmental Health Trust. www.ehtrust.org— Published on July 17, 2018

Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH, Founder & President of Environmental Health Trust & Visiting Professor of Medicine The Hebrew University


Devra Davis, PhD MPH is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed scientist and writer who was the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and is currently Visiting Professor of Medicine The Hebrew University and Ondokuz Mayis University, and Visiting Professor at Szechuan University. The author of more than 200 scientific publications in journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and Environmental Health Perspectives, editor of 11 monographs and several special journal issues, her prize-winning books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have been featured on FOX, CNN, BBC, CBC, and on national programs Finland, Holland, Germany, Korea, Italy, Israel and Japan. As a Lead Author from the team of scientists appointed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007.

Environmental Health Trust (EHT) conducts cutting-edge research and educates individuals, health professionals, and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Past multi-media projects include: local and national campaigns to ban smoking and asbestos, exploring what factors lie behind puzzlingly high rates of fibroid tumors, breast cancer and endometriosis in young African American women, and building environmental wellness programs in Wyoming and Pennsylvania to address the environmental impacts of energy development, the built environment and radon. Currently, EHT focuses on raising awareness on the impacts of cell phones on public health and performing cutting-edge research on exposure to cell phones and other wireless radiation.

When Davis was Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Professor of Epidemiology, EHT was created with the goal of promoting health and preventing disease one person, one community and one nation at a time. Capitalizing on public interest in Davis’ popular books, When Smoke Ran Like Water, a National Book Award Finalist, and The Secret History of the War on Cancer, and Disconnect—the truth about cellphone radiation, what industry has done to hide it and how to protect your family (Nautilus Silver Medal for Courageous Reporting). Her research has twice been designated among the top censored stories of the year. EHT is creating transmedia platforms that provide clear, science-based information to reduce environmentally-based disease and promote health. We work with businesses, universities, and schools at all levels, to create entertaining and informative materials explaining why and how to reduce environmental health threats.

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