Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Ounce of prevention | Beware of cell-phone use

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Children have an increased risk of adverse health effects from cell phone radiation, as cell phone radiation penetrates much deeper into the heads of children than adults.

A cultural revolution called the Wireless Age has exploded worldwide. No other technology has grown on us like the mobile phone. Within three decades, this device has moved from zero to over 7.3 billion units worldwide. By 2014, there were more cell phones than people on planet Earth. Everyone seems to use one.

Question: are cell phones safe?

Cell phones - like cordless home phones, television, radio, laptops, and tablet computers - produce radiofrequency (RF) radiation. But cell phones are placed closest to the body for longer periods of time every day.

In 1993, Dr George Carlo, a public health scientist, wrote a book, Cell Phones - Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age. His studies revealed worrying trends that others dismissed. But due to the relatively recent adoption of cell phones, the long-term safety of the technology cannot be determined conclusively and caution is warranted.

Less than 100 years ago, doctors regularly advised patients to take up cigarette smoking for weight control and stress management. The notion that inhaling tobacco smoke could be harmful was regarded as alarmist, unfounded, almost superstitious. Now lung and several other cancers and smoking-related heart disease are among the top causes of death and smoking is universally recognised as deadly. We now shake our heads at our earlier stupidity.




The brain is an extremely sensitive organ, with special protection. One such protection is a special filter that keeps harmful chemicals from entering the brain. It is called the blood brain barrier. Radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted from mobile phones interferes with the blood brain barrier, and allows toxic substances access to the tissues of the brain.

The other brain protector is the skull. Children have an increased risk of adverse health effects from cell phone radiation, as cell phone radiation penetrates much deeper into the heads of children than adults. Studies show that children under the age of eight absorb twice the amount of radiation into their brain tissue as adults due to their lower skull thickness. These differences signify potentially serious health risks to children.




The more one uses a cell phone, the greater the occurrence of headaches, dizziness and general feelings of discomfort. Research suggests that increasing the use of these instruments from less than two minutes to over 60 minutes per day made those symptoms worse by over 600 per cent.




Studies have produced conflicting results on the relationship between cancer and cell phone use. Laboratory studies on animals do show a connection. Researcher in the United States, Canada and Poland on people exposed to RFR indicates an increased risk of brain, lung and blood cancers.

But The Federal Communications Commission and the US Food and Drug Administration have insisted that there is no evidence that cell phones cause brain tumors or other health problems. The experts, however, agree that more research on cancer in cell phone users is urgently needed.

Common brain tumors on average take about 20-30 years to fully develop. Although cell phones were introduced in 1983, it was after 2000 that their use exploded, so the 20-year mark for mass cell phone use has not yet been reached. The full story has not yet been told!

The 2010 INTERPHONE research, the largest study ever to examine possible links between cell phones and brain tumors, concluded that overall there was "no increase in risk" for brain tumors, but the average user in the study had less than eight years of cell phone exposure.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization announced in 2011 that it had added cell phone radiation to its list of physical agents which are "possibly carcinogenic to humans".




There is a statistically significant increase in the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents among users of mobile phones regardless of whether the phone was handheld or an earpiece was used.




Cell phone storage in front pockets has been linked to lower fertility. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Reproductive Medicine reported that semen quality "tended to decline as daily cell phone use increased". According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Andrology, "men using mobile phones have decreased sperm concentration" and "decreased viability" of their sperm.




Prenatal exposure to radiation from cell phones may increase the risk of ADHD and other behaviour problems in children. According research, exposure to cell phone radiation while in the womb "was associated with behaviour difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems in those children by the time they entered school".




- Safety first! Restrict cell phone use. Minimise radiation exposure when using cell phones as much as possible. Keep the device away from your body as much as possible by using an earpiece or headset.

- The amount of RF absorbed into the head can be reduced by using a wired ear-piece (not a Bluetooth) rather than placing the phone against the ear. Children under the age of eight should use cell phones as little as possible.

- When the signal strength is low, do not use your phone. The lower the signal strength, the greater the radiation emitted from the phone. Do not use handheld phones while driving a vehicle.

- Increase your body's resistance to radiation. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and supplement with the antioxidant ACES- vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral Selenium. Supplement with herbs like ginkgo biloba, schizandra, rosemary, pycnogenol and garlic.

- Avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol and chemical pollutants. Do some type of detoxification programme from time to time.

- You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to 'An Ounce of Prevention' on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15pm. Visit for details on his books and articles.