Are Wi-Fi, microwave ovens, and cell phones attacking our health? Numerous studies are showing those “crazy” researchers who have been warning of EMF’s dangers to our health—from brain tumors to infertility and more—for years may not have been so crazy after all.
By John Tiffany
Cellphones, laptops, microwave ovens, and other fancy devices have become almost a necessity of modern life, as well as a convenience. Wireless connections, known as Wi-Fi, are increasingly ubiquitous. All this high technology depends on a kind of microwave radiation known as radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, RF-EMF. Ten or 20 years ago, this was rare and almost unknown. Now we are all exposed to it, even our children. But is it safe? The evidence shows it is not.
According to a major review in The International Journal of Oncology, those who do not use cellphones face a lifetime risk of brain tumor of approximately one in 167. But for those using cellphones, the risk is one in 128. This would seem to indicate cellphones (and presumably other Wi-Fi devices) cause tumors and likely cancer, but some (especially industry spokesmen) say the link is still unproven.
Two 2017 reviews, however, add to the evidence, showing a 33% to 46% increased chance of brain tumors on whichever side of your head you habitually hold your phone.
The radiation penetrates a few inches or about halfway through an adult’s head. But for a small child, the radiation can penetrate right through the head. An added concern for children is that they may be using cellphones for many decades over their lifetimes, compared to today’s adults who may experience many fewer years of exposure. Thus, the chance of tumors and cancer developing in children increases due to their increased years of exposure.
RF-EMF radiation, unlike nuclear radioactivity, does not damage DNA directly but can damage DNA indirectly by creating free radicals, which can damage DNA and cell membranes.
Some scientists are advocating the World Health Organization should “bump up” the warning about cellphones from “possible carcinogen” to “probable carcinogen” or even “known carcinogen,” at least for brain cancer and inner ear tumors.
Dr. Michael Greger, M.D., of “Nutritionfacts.org” advises those who use a cellphone, “It’s best to use a headset or the speakerphone option and limit the time children use [such devices].”
A hands-free operational mode, including Bluetooth headsets, reduces brain exposure by a factor of 100 or more.
And don’t use so-called anti-radiation gizmos that may actually worsen things by causing your phone to boost the signal.
It may be wise to keep your phone turned off when not in use or expecting a call, and to avoid placing it in the vicinity of your head or genitalia. One study found sperm motility to be reduced by 8% in men using cellphones. This may be a result of carrying the phone in a trousers pocket. There is also evidence using a laptop on your lap, if you are a man, can result in damage to your reproductive organs.
Some population studies found increased risk, while others did not. Interestingly, it was studies funded by the telecommunications industry that had about 10 times less likelihood of finding adverse effects. This can be compared with industry-funded studies done on pharmaceutical drugs (about four times as likely to not find adverse effects of their product), or tobacco—where a whopping 88 times the likelihood was noted. A similar, but more extreme, bias was found in studies of the dangers of nuclear power plants such as Chernobyl.
Don’t expect the government to warn you of these dangers, as they are influenced by the industry, which wants to pooh-pooh the hazards possibly associated with their products.