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Cellphones and their dangers

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

By Dr Tony Vendryes

LESS THAN a century ago, it was not uncommon for doctors to advise patients to use cigarette smoking as an aid in weight control. The idea that inhaling tobacco smoke was harmful was regarded as alarmist, ridiculous, and almost superstitious. Now,...

In a short time, a technological and cultural revolution called the Wireless Age has exploded worldwide. In 2011, there were over 5.6 billion cellular telephones in use by almost 80 per cent of the world's inhabitants. Not to be left out, Jamaica ranks high in its addiction to the use of this electronic marvel. Here, everyone seems to have at least one cellphone. But are cellphones safe, or are they the cigarettes of the new millennium?

At last, after years of denial, in 2011, no less an authority than the World Health Organisation (WHO) admitted that mobile phone use can be dangerous to your health. Yes, an active cellphone held next to your head can give you brain cancer. A special WHO team, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reached this conclusion after reviewing several studies on cellphone safety. It found evidence of an increased incidence of brain cancer in mobile phone users. Sadly, cancer is not the only danger that cellphone users face.

Cellphones are highly compact ultrahigh-frequency transceivers that just happen to be situated directly at your head when the device is in use. Two decades ago, Dr George Carlo, a public health scientist, was commissioned by the cellphone industry to conduct research that would reassure the public about the safety of their products. His studies, however, began revealing worrying dangers, and he was dismissed, and the project stopped.

Early studies in North America and Europe of people exposed to radio-frequency radiation indicate an increased risk of brain, lung, and blood cancers. Although there is conclusive evidence from several researchers that the radiation from cellphones causes genetic damage to human cells, and that this damage leads to an increased risk of cancer, the experts argued that more research was needed. Now, at last, the issue has become clear in the eyes of the WHO.

Damage to the brain

The brain is extremely sensitive to chemicals. To survive and maintain brain function, humans have evolved special protections for the brain. One such protection is a filter that keeps harmful chemicals from entering the brain. It is called the blood brain barrier. Radio-frequency radiation emitted from mobile phones interferes with the blood brain barrier and allows toxic substances access to the tissues of the brain.

The more one uses a cellphone, the greater the occurrence of headaches, dizziness, and general feelings of discomfort in the head. Increasing the use of these instruments from less than two minutes to more than 60 minutes per day, for example, intensifies these symptoms by over 600 per cent.

Motor vehicle accidents

There is a statistically significant increase in the risk of death because of motor vehicle accidents among users of mobile phones. Operating a motor vehicle while using a cellphone is extremely dangerous, and this practice is now illegal in several countries.

Children at high risk

The radiation that emanates from a cellphone penetrates much deeper into the heads of children than adults. Once it penetrates a child's skull, it enters the brain and eyes at a far greater rate of absorption than it does in adults. This suggests even more serious health risks to children. Sadly, this has not prevented the cellphone industry from mounting major advertisement campaigns targeting children. Proposals are currently being made in the European Union to ban the use of cellphones by students in schools.

Safer use of cellphones

Because cellphones are such an important part of modern life and modern communication, and are so widely used, we need to find ways to coexist with them at minimal risk to our health. Here are some recommendations for doing so:

Restrict cellphone use

Add up the number of minutes you spend using a cellphone each day and try to cut back by 30 per cent or more. Keep the instrument away from your body by using a phone with an earpiece or headset. Everyone should routinely use a headset. I believe that cellphone manufacturers should provide everyone who buys a cellphone a free headset.

When you use the modern cellphone without an earpiece, the instrument functions as a receiver and transmitter of radiation that is emitted from the entire phone into a wide area around your head, neck, and hand. Children under the age of 10 should not use wireless devices of any type. When the signal strength is low, for example, inside some buildings, do not use your phone. The lower the signal strength, the greater the radiation emitted.

Protect yourself against radiation

Optimise your nutrition and eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit daily. I use the Cellular Nutrition Programme for optimal nutritional support. Supplement with the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the mineral selenium, as well as the herbs schizandra, rosemary, ginkgo biloba, pycnogenol, and garlic. All of these have powerful antioxidant properties.

Avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol, chemical pollutants, and other sources of radiation like microwave ovens and other electronic devices. Get lots of fresh air, clean water, and sunshine - natural healing tools - and do an internal cleansing programme every three to four months.

Finally, please realise that cellphones are not the only source of unhealthy radiation. Invisible electromagnetic radiation - emanating from diverse sources such as power lines, home wiring, computers, televisions, microwave ovens, photocopy machines - surrounds us each day.

You may email Dr Tony Vendryes at, or listen to 'An Ounce of Prevention' on POWER 106FM on Fridays at 8 p.m. His new book, 'An Ounce of Prevention, Especially for Women' , is available locally and on the Internet.