Do you remember Big Tobacco, and recall the story about how they lied to consumers about what smoking does to you? It wasn’t until 2006 when they finally told the truth about cigarettes in a court ordered ad-campaign. Bear in mind, cigarettes were conceived in 1865, with Malboro being introduced to consumers in 1902.
Taking that into consideration, it took 141 years from the conception of the cigarette for the truth to come out. Big Tobacco manipulated their advertising and promotional campaigns and failed to include images of what smoking really does to people. Smoking kills 1,200 people a day. Upsetting, right?
Fast forward to today. Do you know the one thing that you use everyday that is dangerous and can possibly cause cancer? Your cell phone - the one electronic device most of us can’t seem to live without. “The Nation” published an article in March 2018 providing readers with the full scoop on Big Wireless, and how they persuaded us to believe that our cell phones are safe.
But, are they? The story is frightening and is eerily similar to the Big Tobacco story we’ve seen before. But, how many years have to go by until we all finally realize that our cell phones are not safe?
The History of Cell Phone Radiation Research
Tom Wheeler was the president of the CTIA in the 90’s. He was the wireless industry’s point man in Washington. This is during a time when there were only six cell-phone subscriptions for every 100 adults in the United States.
Today, 95 out of 100 adult Americans own a cell phone, and the wireless industry is the biggest and fastest growing industry on earth. To know that cell phones had been allowed onto the US consumer market a decade earlier without any government safety testing is absurd.
In 1993, David Reynard sued the NEC America Company. His Wife developed a brain tumor, and he blamed her cell phone for this. The story received a lot of attention, so the cell phone industry had to respond. At this point, Tom Wheeler brought in George Carlo, a scientist, to do a study on cell phones. Before the study began, Wheeler reiterated to the public that cell phones are already safe, and that this new research would simply “re-validate the findings of the existing studies.”
Carlo led the study for his organization (WTR) in 1995. This was the best-funded investigation of cell-phone safety to date. During his research, they found double the risk of brain tumors. However, Wheeler denied that the studies were valid, stating that they were not peer reviewed, and the media accepted this response. Eventually, the study was peer reviewed and validated and many studies since then have replicated the findings.
The cell phone industry has spent millions over the last 25 years to cover up the truth about the dangers of cell phones. “As happened earlier with Big Tobacco and Big Oil, the wireless industry’s own scientists privately warned about the risks.” Essentially, they just need to keep the dialogue going, rather than squash any risks with actual science. However, their tactic is to cite “friendly” studies to show that the overall balance shows that there is no real concern. And of these studies, “67 percent of the independently funded studies found a biological effect, while a mere 28 percent of the industry-funded studies did.”
To elaborate further on these studies, insurance companies will not cover cell phone radiation liability. Why? There are $2 billion in pending lawsuits over wireless radiation!
Children are More at Risk
Annie Sasco, the former director of epidemiology for cancer prevention at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research stated that, “The younger one starts using cell phones, the higher the risk”. She also urged for more public education in an effort to inform parents about their children’s higher susceptibility, stating, “The absence of absolute proof does not mean the absence of risk.”
How Can Wireless Radiation Be Harmful?
There are two main ways by which wireless radiation can be harmful:
- Wireless radiation has been shown to decrease the blood-brain barrier, lowering defenses against other common carcinogens.
- It has also been shown to interfere with DNA replication. For children, these risks are increased due to longer exposure to electronics, their smaller heads, and lower bone density.
To Annie Sasco’s point, children are being affected by harmful radiation every day. If we don’t do anything about it, will they be just another victim similar to those who were told smoking wouldn’t kill you?
Where are the Government Regulations?
While there are FCC exposure limits, they simply do not go far enough. Could this be because the FCC is influenced by the wireless industry?
FCC regulations were set in 1996 and do not account for today’s usage patterns. Tests were done to simulate cell phone usage on 200 lb grown male. The FCC allows manufacturers to do their own SAR testing and does not independently test industry claims.The wireless industry made $26 million in campaign contributions in 2016 and spent $87 million in lobbying in 2017.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also provided some input. Michael Repacholi, an Australian biophysicist, led studies for the WHO, and was indirectly funded by Motorola. The “Interphone Study” was launched in 2010 by the WHO. During this study, they found an 80% increase in brain tumors in heavy users from cell phone usage. The industry and media spin on the results was “no overall increased risk of brain cancer is consistent with conclusions reached in an already large body of scientific research on this subject.” The Keyword is “overall”. Just because some parts didn’t show an increase, doesn’t discredit the parts that did. It is also important to note that WHO was also funded by wireless industry.
That said, it is possible that the WHO reconsiders the classification of cell phone radiation to be “probably carcinogenic” or even a “known carcinogen.” Part of the issue with why this hasn’t happened yet, and why some interpretations of research studies can be more conservative could be due to risk of being defunded. Dariusz Leszczynski, adjunct professor of biochemistry at the University of Heisinki says “Everyone knows that if your research results show that radiation has effects, the funding flow dries up.”
What it all Means
An NTP study was conducted where rats and mice were exposed to cell-phone radiation to see if they became sick. Ron Melnick was the designer of the study, and concluded that there is a carcinogenic effect. Although a small percentage of the rats were affected, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this small percentage could translate into a massive amount of human cancers.
“Given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communications devices, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease…could have broad implications for public health,” according to the NTP release. “The scientific evidence that cell phones and wireless technologies in general can cause cancer and genetic damage is not definitive, but it is abundant and has been increasing over time. ”
So, after all is said and done, where do we go from here? More and more people around the world are becoming addicted to their cell phones, and this includes children.
We shouldn’t proceed knowing that yes, there is a risk, and it’s “most likely” minimal. We should do what’s necessary, and take action not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones and future loved ones. So, the next time you hear “cell phone radiation”, don’t turn away. Your life may depend on it.