Fresh evidence of health risks from cell phone use highlight the urgent need for public health warnings. Yet while organisations globally call for action, governments and public health institutions remain quiet on the subject.
In the twentieth century, governments were slow to wake up to the risks posed by tobacco consumption in the face of enormous economic pressure.
Today, independent scientists and health officials have been calling for new safety standards for wireless technologies, especially to address the risk to children and young people.
The updated BioInitiative Report released this month reviewed over 1800 scientific studies. Written by 29 scientists, and public health experts, it outlined the health risks arising from wireless technologies and electromagnetic fields, indicating that since 2007, the risk of harm has accumulated significantly. The experts concluded that there is a consistent pattern of increased risk of malignant brain tumours following prolonged use of cell phones and cordless phones.
Pointing out the greater vulnerability of children, the report highlighted the need for new standards to be implemented to protect the young.
Believed to contribute to cancer – in particular brain tumours – there is evidence these exposures also damage DNA and increase the risk of dementias (including Alzheimer’s disease) and autism.
Studies also suggest that cell phones on standby and wireless laptops damage sperm quality and sperm motility. This in turn affects fertility and reproduction.
In 2011 the World Health Organisation’s scientific panel, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified cell phone radiation as a possible human carcinogen.
In October 2012, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that a businessman’s brain tumour was caused by his use of a cell phone for twelve years.
Globally, concern increases as to the exposure risks, with prolonged use of cell phones reportedly associated with health problems such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, tension and sleep disturbances.
Last week, Australian health campaigner EMFacts Consultancy urged governments to insist on public health warnings. It recommends the public take steps to cut exposure from cell phones:
- Use a hands-free mobile device
- Use text messaging wherever possible
- Keep the phone away from the head
- Use a low radiation phone – one with a low Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)
- Use a Cellsafe case to further reduce the SAR level.