A growing body of research links long-term, heavy cell phone use with brain tumors. But it's not just about brain tumors any more.
A new double-blind, peer-reviewed study, just published in the European Journal of Oncology, suggests that cordless phones, which transmit pulsed signals similar to wireless networks, increase heart rate—nearly doubling it in some cases. Many of the subjects' responses were extreme, causing arrhythmia and/or tachycardia just from three-minute-interval exposure to these phones.
This is the first study to document immediate, dramatic change in heart rate and its variability from microwave exposure well below the federal standards in this country and Canada.
"What we found is what many people have said for a long time about devices that emit microwaves," says lead author Magda Havas, Ph.D., of the Environmental and Resources Studies Department at Trent University, Canada. "People don't just feel ill, their heart begins to race, and this is measurable with medical heart monitoring devices."
What about kids? The study now raises a red flag about any potential source that transmits microwave radiation, like cell phones and wi-fi. Wi-fi networks are being installed in schools all over the country and may be the reason that a growing number of children are being treated for heart irregularities and other conditions.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with a (thankfully) benign tumor of the parotid, one of the salivary glands located just below the earlobe. It's a very rare tumor most often caused by ionizing radiation from X-rays, which I hadn't been exposed to. But I had been addicted to my cell phone, and on it constantly, for years.
In 2008, researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that individuals who kept their cell phone against one side of their head for several hours a day were 50 percent more likely to develop parotid tumors.
Unfortunately, like most Americans, I was under the false assumption that cell phones and other household electronics were safe. Now I know better. And it is even more crucial to be aware of the danger to children.
Paul J. Rosch, M.D., clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College and emeritus member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, says "Children are more severely affected because their brains are developing and their skulls are thinner. A two-minute call can alter brain function in a child for an hour, which is why other countries ban or discourage mobile phone use under the age of 18."
In fact, the very electronic and digital innovations that have made our lives more convenient and efficient are also exposing us to thousands of artificial electromagnetic frequencies and wavelengths never before experienced by human beings.
There are simple ways we can all reduce our exposure in the rooms we spend the most time in—the bedroom, family room and home office:
Remove wi-fi and cordless phone chargers in the bedrooms.
Your cordless phone charger is emitting radio frequency power even when you are not using it. The pulsed digital signals are more damaging than the analog signals, and they should not be anywhere near your head. Baby monitors should not be placed closer than six feet to the crib.
Walls do not stop magnetic fields. The back of your refrigerator produces a large electromagnetic field which goes right through walls—so if your family room shares a wall with the refrigerator, move the sofa. And by all means, stay out of the kitchen when your self-cleaning oven is operating; it uses very high wattage to burn off debris on the oven walls.
Don't cradle your laptop. It may be called a laptop, but don't use it in your lap at any time—and you really don't want to use it when you are pregnant. Even before birth, children are exposed to electropollution in the womb. Since a fetus spends 40 weeks essentially floating in a sack of water (a well-known conductor of electricity), it is particularly vulnerable.
Consumers need to be more aware. San Francisco became the first city in the nation to adopt an ordinance requiring retailers to inform consumers about the radiation levels of mobile phones at point of sale. This and similar measures should be implemented in every retail outlet selling mobile phones (and other electronics) throughout the country.
Everyone's at risk when it comes to electropollution, the new invisible pollutant. We once thought cigarettes, lead paint and tanning beds were safe. Electropollution has the potential to be even more deadly for ourselves, our families, our future generations and our planet."
Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. is an award-winning New York Times best-selling author of over 30 books on health and healing. Her latest, Zapped; Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, was just published by HarperOne.