by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
© August 2014 (updated January 2015)
Question: A concerned mother explained, “My daughter has mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss and wears hearing aids. In her Montessori classroom, they also use an FM system when appropriate. I have visited schools where they now use wireless soundfield systems. They seem great, especially for a traditional classroom setting. My question is, ‘Who is evaluating all of these devices, hearing aids (especially ones that communicate aid-to-aid), FM systems, soundfield systems, etc. for levels of radiation when used together?’
If you put a child with hearing aids, with an FM, and a sound field in a wireless environment, are they getting slowly ‘cooked’? I am not sure safety is taken into account when all of these technologies are applied layer upon layer—especially with children who have thinner skulls and developing brains.
I just don’t feel confident with the information I have been given. Your thoughts are appreciated.”
Answer: You have posed an excellent question. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you see it), we live in an increasingly wireless world. Like practically every technology ever developed, there are good points and bad points to the all-pervading wireless revolution we are experiencing. The trick is to use the good while eliminating as much of the bad as possible. As so often happens, the “bad” is swept under the carpet and everyone pretends it isn’t causing any problems.That is happening with microwave wireless devices.
We Are Surrounded by Microwaves
Many/most of the wireless devices we use today operate in the microwave frequencies—typically between 1 GHz and 10GHz or so. This means we are bathed in a microwave smog (some call it electro-smog) pretty-well every minute of everyday (and all night too), and it is getting worse as more and more items we use are going wireless.
Besides the microwave ovens in our kitchens, think of all the other devices at home, work and school that emit microwaves.There are Wi-Fi routers and wireless modems, cell phones,smart phones, laptop computers, tablets, wireless baby monitors, DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology) cordless phones, wireless video game consoles, wireless burglar alarms, wireless printers, bluetooth devices of all kinds,and numbers of other wireless electronic devices.
That is not all. Outside our homes, schools and places of work there are other major sources of the electro-smog that surrounds us. These include nearby cell phone towers and all our neighbors’ electronic wireless devices and routers.
For hard of hearing people the list is even longer. We use RF(radio frequency) systems integrated with our hearing aids so we can hear distant speakers and our TVs. These operate in the 2.4 GHz band (microwave frequencies). Even hearing aids can now “talk” to each other and this is also done at 2.4 GHz.All the bluetooth assistive devices operate in this same band.And in your school, so do the wireless sound-field systems.
Furthermore, there are more and more smart phone apps available to help us hear better, but to use them we need to use our cell phones (and remember, they also emit microwaves). As a result, we are bathed in even more microwaves than people with normal hearing.
Microwaves Negatively Affect Our Health
As scientists discovered back in the 1940s and 1950s with the development of radar and other technologies, microwaves were dangerous to human health. They are still just as dangerous today. Make no mistake about it. Surrounding ourselves in a microwave smog is not good for us.
Because of the power involved, microwave radiation from cellphone towers, cell phones and Wi-Fi routers are the primary culprits, not our hearing aids and assistive listening devices that also use microwave frequencies.
Note: exposure to radiation from cell towers is rapidly increasing with the deployment of 4G technology, but the average exposure from cell towers is still well below that of our cell phones themselves (1) because they are so much closer to our bodies (heads).
However, for hard of hearing people, adding wireless assistive devices to the mix just compounds the problem. Furthermore,hearing aids are right against the skull—so when they “talk” to each other via 2.4 GHz, even though the power output is very low, they just add to the electro-smog assaulting our bodies.
The dangers to our bodies from microwave radiation is of two kinds—thermal (heat) and non-thermal.
“Cell phones radiate microwaves, as do microwave ovens.The exposure limits set by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States and by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation, Protecting for most countries in the European Union assume the only danger from microwave radiation would come from temperature increases in our brains, or from temperature increases to any other part of our bodies.” (2) In short, all the industry thinks of is thermal damage from microwaves heating up our cells and”cooking” us, They are not considering short and long term non-thermal microwave effects.
To be sure, thermal effects from microwaves can be a problem if we are close to a high-powered microwave antenna.But with most microwave devices (apart from our microwave ovens which are designed to cook things), internal cell heating from microwave radiation is the least of our worries.
Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry about your child being”cooked” in school from all the microwave devices in use in the classroom. However, you do have to concern yourself with other health issues associated with microwaves from their non-thermal effects.
One such health risk is brain tumors/brain cancer. Brain tumors happen to real people from using microwave devices such as cell phones. Here is Enrico Grani’s story. He explains:
I used cell phones for 10+ years extensively on and off, and because of this, I developed a brain tumor.
It 2007, about one week before my birthday, I was diagnosed with a 3 cm x 4 cm brain tumor. I had a stroke in late November 2006. An MRI examination revealed a brain tumor in the area of my brain next to my ear where I always held my cell phone—in the exact position where the cell phone’s antenna was located.
Cell phones are much more dangerous than anyone can possibly imagine. I would gladly trade in all my money (which isn’t much now) and every single material possession I have for the chance to have my brain function restored. I was foolish. Please don’t make the same mistake. Your brain is much more precious than the device called a cell phone. (3)
“The first major indication that cell phones might be a health hazard came out of a massive research project funded by the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). To the industry’s surprise and dismay, the results of the study came to the opposite conclusion from the one they were hoping for.
The study’s results included findings of:
- A nearly 300% increase in the incidence of genetic damage when human blood cells were exposed to radiation in the cellular frequency band.
- A significant increase in cell phone users’ risk of brain tumors at the brain’s outer edge, on whichever side the cellphone was held most often.
- A 60% greater chance of acoustic neuromas, a tumor affecting the nerve that controls hearing, among people who had used cell phones for six years or more.
- A higher rate of brain cancer deaths among handheld mobile phone users than among car phone users (car phones are mounted on the dashboard rather than held next your head and the antenna was typically outside the car).” (4)
This study by Dr. George Carlo reported “a statistically significant doubling of brain cancer risk; a statistically significant dose-response risk of acoustic neuroma with more than six years of cell phone use, and; findings of genetic damage in human blood when exposed to microwave (cellphone) radiation.” (2)
Another industry-funded research study showed that brain tumors are not just due to chance, but that there is a significant “20% increased risk of brain tumors for every year of cell phone use”. (2)
Later studies show that 3G phones may cause more harm than earlier versions, raising the risk of brain cancer four-fold. (13)
Brain cancer from 3G phones and the latest technology also appears to have a much shorter latency period—just five to 10 years—compared to about 25 years for earlier mobile phone versions. (13)
Independent researcher, Dr. Hardell and his team in Sweden found significantly increased risk of brain tumors from 10 or more years of cell phone (or cordless phone) use. Some of their findings included:
- “For every 100 hours of cell phone use, the risk of brain cancer increases by 5%.
- For every year of cell phone use, the risk of brain cancer increases by 8%.
- After 10 or more years of digital cell phone use, there is a 280% increased risk of brain cancer.
- For digital cell phone users who were teenagers or younger when they first started using a cell phone, there is a 420% increased risk of brain cancer.” (2)
In spite of what the cell phone industry’s public relations departments may say, “the link between cell phone use and brain tumors is well substantiated and backed by more than 100 scientific studies.” (5)
For starters, health conditions that are linked to cell phone use include 9 types of cancer/tumors (known as of 2013). These include gliomas (brain cancer), meningiomas (tumors of the meninges that encases the brain), salivary gland cancer, eye cancer, testicular cancer in males, breast cancer in females, thyroid cancer, leukemia and acoustic neuromas (tumors on the acoustic nerves resulting in hearing loss) (6), In fact, in 2004, the second Interphone study to be published raised considerable alarm when it reported a nearly 300% increased risk of acoustic neuroma. This is because when a cell phone is held to the ear, it is the acoustic nerve that receives the highest microwave exposure.) (2)
That is not all, the French national Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Safety. (ANSES), after evaluating more than 300 international studies, published a report highlighting the biological effects of EMR [electro-magnetic radiation] on humans and animals concerning sleep,male fertility and cognitive performance. (1)
Chronic exposure to even low-level radiation (like that from cellphones) in addition to causing a wide variety of cancers, can also impair immunity and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, heart disease and many other ailments. (7)
For example, studies have found that cell phone radiation can affect men’s fertility (decreased sperm count, reduced sperm motility and damaged sperm mitochondrial DNA). (6) This is because men, and particularly teenage boys, place their cellphones in their pants pockets when they are not holding them to their heads. In addition, one study reported an 80% increased risk of testicular cancer. When the cell phone was kept in the left pocket, then the left testicle developed cancer.When kept in the right pocket, than the right testicle developed cancer. (2)
How is it that microwave radiation can cause all these health problems? Dr. Mercola explains,
“Your body is a complex communication device for cells ‘talk’, tissues ‘talk’, organs ‘talk’ and organisms ‘talk’. At each of these levels, the communication includes finely tuned bio-electrical transmitters and receivers, which are tuned like tuning into a radio station. What happens when you expose a radio antenna to a significant amount of external noise? You get static from the noise—and that is what is happening to your body in today’s electro-smog environment.
Two of the more well-known biological impacts from electro-smog are the interruption of the brain wave pattern leading to behavior issues, and the interference to your body’s entire communication system, leading to abnormal neurological function such as dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
At the cellular level, your cell membrane receptors (the brain of the cell) recognize electromagnetic fields at very low levels of exposure producing a stress response similar to that produced by exposure to heavy metals or toxic chemicals.
This can cause the cell membrane to go from an ‘active’ or permeable state where it allows nutrients in the toxins out, to an ‘inactive’ state where the cell membrane is impermeable. During a normal day, your cells will change states thousands of times, but when under constant environmental stress, the membranes can be locked in the inactive state. This is often referred to as ‘oxidative stress’ as nutrients are able to enter into the cell, while toxins (free radicals) are not allowed to leave.
There is also real evidence that this inactive state can even have geno-toxic effects, meaning electro-smog is toxic by both damaging DNA and preventing your body from repairing DNA, which can be the first step to cancer.” (7)
Unfortunately, it is our children that are slated to bear the brunt of these cancers. As Dr. Mercola also reports, “Young children are much more vulnerable to these risks than adults because of their thinner skulls, smaller heads, and still-developing brains and nervous systems. Their thinner skull bones allow for greater penetration of radiation. The radiation can enter all the way into the mid-brain where tumors are more deadly.” (4)
Furthermore, children’s brains can absorb up to three times as much radiation as compared to adults (1) since children’s brain tissue is more conductive and their smaller brains and softer brain tissue allows radiation to penetrate more effectively.
Dr. Mercola concludes, “Children’s cells reproduce more quickly, so they’re more susceptible to aggressive cell growth.Their immune systems are often also not as well developed as adults. Lastly, children face a far greater lifetime exposure. Not only should children not use cell phones, but adults should not use them (or Wi-Fi) around children.” (4)
You can see revealing graphics showing how deeply cellphone radiation penetrates a five-year-old child’s head (brain) as compared to the head (brain) of an adult.
By comparing the first and last graph, it is obvious that cellphone radiation would penetrate in excess of 60% of a five-year-old child’s brain. In contrast, it would penetrate less than 20% of an adult brain. (8) As microwave radiation penetrates deeper into the cranial cavity, it can result in more tumors in these areas of the brain.
Not only do children’s brains absorb microwaves more readily than adult brains do, children also have potentially a much longer period of exposure to microwave radiation because they are playing with and/or using wireless devices and cellphones from a very early age. (1)
“The younger the child is when he or she starts using a cellphone, the higher the risk. Since texting became popular, it is common that children sleep with their cell phones underneath their pillows. They set their cell phones to vibrate mode so their parents won’t hear the phone ring. Sleeping with a cellphone beneath a pillow results in a night-long exposure, every night.” (2)
Thus, we can expect microwave-related health problems in children much sooner than we would expect the same kinds of problems in older adults who were not exposed to microwaves for most of their lives.
Summing it up, it appears that the risk of getting a brain tumor from exposure to microwave radiation from cell phone use has the following characteristics:
- “The higher the cumulative hours of wireless phone use, the higher the risk.
- The higher the number of years since first wireless phone use, the higher the risk.
- The higher the radiated power from the cell phone, the higher the risk.
- The higher the exposure (use on the same side of head as the brain tumor), the higher the risk, and
- The younger the user, the higher the risk.” (2)
Biased Research Studies Just Hide the Problems
Living in the microwave smog that surrounds us is not good for our health. In fact, it is downright bad for us, as you now know,in spite of numbers of (biased) studies funded by the cell-phone industry trying to say otherwise.
There is a well-known phenomenon, common across many industries, called “funding bias” that comes into play whenever studies done by independently-funded researchers are compared to studies done by researchers with ties to the industry. When you compare the results, the studies done by industry-funded researchers typically produce results favorable to the industry.
For example, “EMF-industry-funded studies found effects from electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures 28% of the time, and independent studies found effects from EMF exposures 67% of the time.” (2) That’s an increase of 239%, or to put it another way, industry- funded studies under-reported the effects by almost two and a half times.
In spite of a few industry-funded studies showing that microwaves can cause harm, it appears that the cell-phone industry as a whole is not willing to admit that the microwaves emanating from the microwave devices we all use can cause the severity of health problems they do. Instead, they try to show that there is no problem, or only minor health issues.
Furthermore, the cell phone industry tries to cast doubt on the validity of any independent studies. For example, “when independent studies show results not favorable to those with a financial interest, an industry study quickly follows casting doubt on the original study. The back-and-forth of independent studies followed by industry studies adds to the sense of doubt. It is a highly successful technique used to neutralize alarming findings by independent science. It fatigues the mind to such an extent that few pay attention to what is going on. Yet, the big picture is that the overwhelming conclusion of science favors the independent science.” (2)
How the cell phone industry biases results is rather sneaky. In order to make it look like microwaves are not a problem, numbers of industry-funded studies put an unnatural spin on the results by deliberately limiting the studies in ways that bias the results to show little danger from microwaves.
These biases are so blatant that 43 MDs and PhDs from around the world authored a document entitled, “Cellphones and Brain Tumors—15 Reasons for Concern”. The subtitle was even more revealing, “Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone”. (2) This document revealed the shenanigans the13-country Interphone alliance went through to come up with conclusions showing that microwave radiation was not a problem.
In this document, these doctors cited 91 studies. It included both studies independent of industry funding as well as telecommunications-industry-funded studies. (2) They then addressed a number of flaws in the Interphone study protocol that resulted in the underestimation of the risk of brain tumors from cell phone usage. (2)
Their conclusion was that these Interphone studies were so “riddled with design flaws that they under-estimate the risk of brain tumors. The effect of these design flaws is such that there was systematic, protective skewing of all results. That is, the true risk is larger than the published risk.” (2)
Two major points in this document are:
1. Studies, independent of industry, consistently show there is a significant risk of brain tumors from cell phone use.
2. The electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure limits advocated by industry and used by governments are based on the false premise that a cell phone’s electromagnetic radiation has no biological effects except for heating. (2)
Therefore, if you want to get closer to the truth, you need to examine the results of the independent studies, rather than simply accepting the (biased) results from the cell phone industry. (2)
Here are four major types of bias the that cell phone industry used in their Interphone studies that led to the conclusion that microwave radiation from cell phones had little effect on health.
1. Exposure bias: They treated study subjects who used a cordless phone as though they were “unexposed” to microwave radiation (when DECT cordless phones use the same technology as is used in GSM cell phones). In fact, “Two independently-funded cell phone studies found that use of a cordless phone results in an increased risk of brain tumors.”(2) Thus the baseline health level was biased towards more cancer at the start so it wouldn’t show a drastic increase in tumors from cell phone use.
2. Time bias: There was insufficient latency time to expect a tumor to occur. They only used study subjects that had used cell phones for a short time—1 to 5 years or so—which is not enough time to show the real picture of the number of tumors that develop from using cell phones. “So many current studies showing ‘no risk’ from cell phone use are flawed because they’re focused on the short-term—too short to predict the real health outcome for heavy users who start using the technology at an early age.” (5) The truth is, every single study of brain tumors that looked at 10 or more years of cell phone use showed an increased risk of brain cancer. (7)
3. Usage bias: There was an unrealistic definition of a”regular” cell phone user. In order to keep the risk results low,they defined a regular cell phone user as a person that used a cell phone “at least once a week for six months or more in the one year prior to diagnosis”. (2) If they had wanted realistic results, they could have specified people that used cell phones multiple times a day for the past 10 years. Then the results would have been more realistic, and a lot higher!
4. Selection bias: They excluded whole classes of people for various reasons. These included:
— Exclusion of people who had used cell phones and had died or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumors. (2) And where do you think these people got their brain tumors from?
— Exclusion of many types of brain tumors (as though cellphones only cause one kind of cancer) and brain tumors that supposedly occurred outside the cell phone’s “radiation plume”. This radiation plume is considerably larger in children’s brains than in adult brains.
— Exclusion of children and young adults from the study (yet these are the very people that are the most susceptible to cancer from cell phone radiation). The Interphone protocol required subjects to be between the ages of 30 and 59 years. (2) Yet, when independent researchers studied younger adults (20 – 29 years of age) as compared to mature adults, they found a 717% increased risk of brain tumors. How’s that for hiding the results? And if they’d compared it to children who started fooling around with cell phones at 2 or 3 years old, the results would have been enormously higher than that!
This shows how easy it is to skew the results to get any result you want from a study. As Mark Twain once wrote, “There are three kinds of lies—lies, damned lies and statistics”. Thus it behooves us to be very careful of accepting the results of (biased) industry-funded studies as the gospel.
The conclusion of this paper states, “The 11 Interphone study design flaws, taken together, greatly distort the true risk of brain tumors from cell phone use. Any consideration of Interphone study conclusions must weigh an understanding of these design flaws so as not to mislead the public about risks of cell phone use. It is the view of the editors and endorsers of this report that there is a far greater risk of brain tumors from cell phone use than has been reported in the Telecom-funded Danish cell phone subscriber study or in the Telecom-funded Interphone study.” (2)
Another technique the industry uses to bias the results is to flood the literature with numerous papers all written by the same “researcher” to make it seem that most research favors their point of view.
A case in point. The paper “Electromagnetic Fields and DNA Damage cites 14 studies showing significant effects of cellular DNA damage and 17 studies that did not find significant DNA damage. Wouldn’t you know it, one of the industry-funded researchers, Dr. Joseph Roti Roti authored (or helped author) 8 of the 17 papers that did not show significant damage. So in reality, instead of 14 different papers for, and 17 different papers against, there were really only 10 “different” points of view against. (2)
Therefore, don’t let the cell phone industry fool you. I think you’ll find a close analogy between cell phone use today and smoking in days gone by. “Remember how medical doctors used to say smoking was harmless? Only decades later, after vehement denials, was the undisputed truth finally accepted—that smoking does cause lung cancer.
History is now repeating itself. There is ever-growing evidence that the information-carrying radio waves transmitted by cellphones and other wireless devices can cause brain tumors, harm blood cells and cause cellular changes, damage your DNA, cause nerve-cell damage,” (3) “damage your eyes, cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches”. (4) In 20 or 30 years we’ll be able to look back and see that this should have been self-evident.
What Other Countries Are Doing About Electro-smog
Numbers of countries are responding to the damaging effects of the microwave electro-smog surrounding their people by limiting their use where children are most vulnerable—in schools. For example, Israel is recommending banning Wi-Fi in their schools. (6) Russia is recommending that children under the age of 18 do not use cell phones at all. The UK, Belgium,Germany, India, France and Finland are urging their people to limit their children’s use of cell phones. (6) That’s how strongly they feel about the results of studies regarding health issues from cell phone radiation.
The French National Assembly went one step further and has adopted a bill to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)generated by wireless technologies—cell phones, tablets, Wi-Fi, etc. This bill will mean a total ban on Wi-Fi in all childcare facilities for children under the age of three, (1) and “is nearing the point where it will make it illegal to market cell phones to children and recently banned cell phones in elementary schools.” (2) Dr. Sinatra points out that, “This amendment will ban Wi-Fi in French schools until it’s proven safe for human consumption. Instead, they agreed to install far safer, wired Ethernet cable connections.” (9)
“France is also requiring manufacturers to come up with a new kind of phone for children. It would only allow the sending and receiving of text messages, and thus would not allow children to place a cell phone to the side of their heads.” (2)
In Canada, “Toronto’s Department of Public health has advised that children under 8 should only use mobile phones in emergencies, and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes.” (2)
Also, in Canada, Dr. Sinatra reports, “My son introduced me to many people whose children developed health issues in schools since Wi-Fi had been installed. Meanwhile, their symptoms (commonly headaches, light-headedness and palpitations) were alleviated on the weekends and during school vacations.” (9)
Dr. Sinatra adds, “School Wi-Fi systems are industrial-strength compared to what we have in our homes. They are so much stronger! Routers mounted in school hallways and other locations can blast that signal through as much as 18 inches of cinder-block. But the trouble with home routers is that they’re constantly pulsing, exposing us to Wi-Fi radiation 24 hours a day.” (9)
The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority recommends avoiding calls from moving cars and trains and calls from rural areas. This is because cell phones under these conditions radiate more power in order to connect to a cellphone tower. (2)
In Seoul, Korea, the Seoul Metropolitan Council plans to draw up draft regulations to ban the use of cell phones at primary and secondary schools. For elementary schools, the rules would mean that students can’t come to school with phones. Middle and high schools would collect cell phones and return them after school.” The reason? “Cellular phones could harm the study atmosphere at schools and could cause health risks for kids. Therefore, it is desirable to prohibit students from using cell phones at schools.” (2) It is now known that people/children learn better in locations that are free from cellphones, wireless devices, etc. (6)
The European Parliament’s recent call for action included this point: “Keep certain establishments free of wireless device radiation, including schools, child day care centers, retirement homes and healthcare institutions.” (2)
That’s what other countries are doing about microwave radiation risks to their citizens. What are we in the USA doing? Apparently nothing to help the situation. But we keep adding more and more convenience microwave wireless devices to our homes and environment and we are unnecessarily suffering for it as a result.
What Can We Do About It?
We are all being subjected to microwaves, not only by personal cell phone usage, but also as bystanders subject to radiation from nearby cell phone users and cell phone towers,Wi-Fi—both public and private, and other sources of microwave transmissions.
Here are a number of simple (and prudent) steps you can take to substantially reduce your and your children’s exposure to the damaging effects of the cell phone and other microwave radiation that surrounds you.
1. Turn off the Wi-Fi router in your home. Wi-Fi produces a relatively strong internal radio-frequency signal. If Wi-Fi must be used, distance yourself from the router as much as possible. Also, turn your Wi-Fi off at night and whenever you are not using it. (10) Better yet, wire your home with Ethernet(CAT5) cables for connecting your various devices and disable your Wi-Fi once you have the Ethernet connections working.
I have a wireless Wi-Fi system in my home, but it is turned off 99.99% of the time. Instead, I have wired both my office and my home with Ethernet cables so all our computers and printers, instead of being set to operate wirelessly, are all connected by Ethernet cables. This reduces the amount of microwave radiation floating around me since I spend a lot of time in front of my computers every day.
Does this help? As one mother explained, “We have gotten rid of the Wi-Fi in our home. Since we have gotten rid of the Wi-Fi, I sleep a lot better and think a lot clearer.” (1)
2. Use a corded (hardwired), land-line (desk-top) phone as much as possible instead of a cordless or cell phone. Unlike cordless phones and cell phones, hardwired landline phones are safe to use no matter how much you use them.
Many cordless base stations emit relatively high levels of RF radiation. If you cannot part with your cordless phones, keep the base stations as far from your body is possible and consider unplugging them at night. (10)
Better yet, get rid of your DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Technology) cordless phones. The FCC warning label attached to most of these cordless phones, states, “This equipment should be installed and operated with a minimum distance of 8″ (20 cm) between the radiator and your body”. Unlike previous cordless phone technology, DECT base stations are continuously emitting microwave radiation 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The DECT phone radiation, based on GSM cellphone technology, is similar to cell phone radiation. (2) That is why it is so dangerous.
If you must use a cordless home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. (We have one of these for when we “need” a cordless phone.) They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly, even when no call is being made. (5)
Just following these first two steps will greatly reduce your total exposure to microwaves.
3. Leave your cell phone in airplane mode (like I do) and just bring it out of airplane mode when you want to use it, make your call, then put it back in airplane mode. If your cell phone doesn’t have airplane mode, then turn your cell phone off (really off, not in standby mode) except when needed.
Basically you want to use your cell phone more as an answering machine. Keep it in airplane mode until you want to see who has called. Then return any calls using a landline phone if possible. Otherwise, keep the calls short—just a few minutes—as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure. For longer conversations, use a corded landline phone. (8)
4. Keep your cell phone as far from your body as practical when using it which will greatly reduce your radiation exposure.This is because the strength of most EMF sources decreases exponentially with increasing distance from the source. You’ll be glad to know that cell phone radiation decreases as the inverse of the square of the distance from the phone. As a result, even an inch away from your body can help reduce your radiation exposure. The Apple iPhone user manual warns the user, “Tested for use at the ear and for body worn operation (with iPhone positioned 15 mm or 5/8″ from the body.” (2) Other manufacturers have somewhat similar instructions. In other words, it is dangerous to use cell phones when held tight against the ear (or body)—even according to the cell phone industry’s own (biased) standards.
Here’s how the inverse squares law works. When you hold your cell phone up to your ear, let’s say the cell phone is 1/10″ from your head. Now, if your move your cell phone 10 inches away, it is 100 times farther from the head. The square of 100 is 10,000. Therefore, this 10″ increase in distance would result in a 10,000-fold reduction in the radiation absorbed by your head. (2) Pretty significant, isn’t it?
5. When on a call, use the phone in speaker-phone mode, or use a wired headset, or use a wireless Bluetooth headset in order to keep your phone as far away from your head/body as is practical.
Note that while Bluetooth uses the same microwave frequencies as cell phones, a Bluetooth headset emits less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cellphone. (8) Therefore, the risk to you of using a Bluetooth headset and keeping the cell phone away from your body is much less than holding a cell phone up to your ear.
Remember, radiation intensity falls off quickly with increasing distance (see 4 above). When you use a wired headset, your cell phone is not held directly against your ear and as a result, the absorbed cell phone radiation should be reduced by several orders of magnitude. (2) Thus, even moving your cell phone 1 foot from your head will have enormous health benefits down the road. In actual fact, holding your cell phone away from your body is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to reduce your microwave exposure. (10)
The best solution (assuming you have normal hearing or a mild to moderate loss so you can use a regular cell phone) is to use an air-tube headset with your cell phone. Air-tube headsets are the safest way of increasing the distance from your cellphone. The ear tube component converts electrical signals into harmless air-waves. An ear-tube type hands-free kit can reduce radiation significantly, and it is much safer than even Bluetooth. (11)
A wired headset (without the air tube) is the second best option. This is what I use. (Instead of ear buds, you could use a neckloop or ear hooks and the t-coils in your hearing aids.) You will still be able to keep the phone away from your body. However, the wires going to your headset may act as an antenna and conduct radiation to your head.
Speakerphone mode is another option. This enables you to hold the phone away from your body when you use it. The downside is that your conversation will be much less private.
6. When possible, communicate via text messaging rather than making a voice call. Texting keeps your cell phone away from your head and thus reduces your radiation exposure to your brain. (8) Don’t forget to hold your cell phone away from your body when you press “send”. (11)
7. When dialing out, don’t put your cell phone up to your ear until your correspondent has picked up the call. This is because your cell phone communicates at full power when it’s connecting to a number. When receiving an incoming call do the same. Give yourself a second or two before putting the phone up to your head once you’ve accepted the call. (11) This gives your phone a chance to reduce power if it is close to a tower.
8. If you have your cell phone turned on (and not in airplane mode), keep your cell phone away from your body (particularly avoid pant or shirt pockets) or use a belt holster designed to shield the body from cell phone radiation when not in use (stand-by mode). “The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about 6 inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.” (5) If you must carry your cell phone on your person, make sure that the keypad side is positioned towards your body and the back is positioned toward the outside so that the transmitted electromagnetic fields move away from your body, rather than through your body. (8)
This is because, even on standby, your cell phone regularly communicates at full power with the nearest cell phone tower to ensure it has the best signal possible. If you are in a poor signal area, it may transmit every 30 seconds to try and get a better signal.
9. Avoid using your cell phone as much as possible when you are in a moving vehicle, bus or train, or in rural areas where you are at some distance from the nearest cell tower. In any of these situations, your cell phone will automatically increase it’s transmitting power to maximum (with a consequent increase of microwave radiation) as it constantly scans for new cell towers to connect to. (8)
The same applies to using your cell phone inside buildings—particularly those with lots of steel in them. This especially applies when in elevators and basements (and underground stations) as the concrete and metal can block the signals getting out so the cell phone increases its transmitting power to maximum.
10. Use your cell phone only where reception is good. The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to reach the nearest cell tower. The more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception. (5)
Some phones can ramp up their emissions 1,000 fold in areas where the signal is poor. This means that for each signal bar that is missing, your exposure increases several hundred times. (11)
If you have to use your cell phone in a building, the best place is near a window so the signal can easily get out and reach the cell tower.
11. Use caution when using your cell phone in a car, plane,train or other metal vehicle. This is because the metal skin reflects the transmitted signals so they bounce around inside your vehicle rather than heading straight to the cell tower. The result is that you get a larger dose of radiation. (11) Also, your cell phone will increase its power (see 10 above).
12. Keep at least 6 feet away from anyone that is using a cellphone, and as a courtesy, do the same when you are using your cell phone and stay at least 6 feet away from those around you (not always possible, but you can try). (12) This is because, just as you can inhale second-hand smoke which can hurt your health, so also, second-hand “electro-smoke” (microwave radiation) from cell phone (and Wi-Fi usage) can also harm your health and the health of those around you. Therefore, you want to maintain a “safe” distance between yourself and those using cell phones and other wireless microwave devices.
Note: holding the cell phone against your head ensures that you will absorb most of the energy, thereby protecting those nearby, albeit causing the most damage to yourself! (12) So don’t do it.
“Although it is difficult to properly measure, when a cell phone is being used to send and/or receive data (voice conversation,searching the Internet, downloading music, etc.) the safe distance to avoid non-thermal biological effects depends on the strength of the signal from the tower.
The higher the tower strength—the more signal bars you have—the less power your cell phone uses to maintain communication. This distance varies from model to model, but in general, when a cell phone is being used in a full-strength signal area, the signal from the cell phone can have a potential impact on anyone within approximately 6 feet of the cell phone [hence the 6′ rule of thumb].
As the tower signal strength decreases, the cell phone automatically increases its transmitting power, and this distance increases proportionally.
The actual distance of effect depends entirely on the direction and magnitude of the signal and whether the signal transmission is occurring within an enclosed area where there is significant reflection, such as an airplane, car or train.” (12)
13. Do not allow your children under 18 to use a cell phone, except in emergencies. (2) By the same token, avoid using your cell phone when you are near children out of consideration for the second-hand radiation exposure they will experience. (5)
Furthermore, do not let children play with cell phones or other microwave devices unless they are in airplane mode and the Wi-Fi on the cell phone is turned off. Yet you see many infants and children playing with cell phones and other microwave devices. All this unnecessary radiation exposure is quite easy to avoid.
14. Do not keep your cell phone near your body at night, such as under the pillow or on a bedside table, particularly if you are pregnant unless it is in airplane mode (which stops electromagnetic emissions) or fully turned off (not in stand-by mode). (8)
In fact, don’t even bring a cell phone into your bedroom unless you have it in airplane mode. Studies show that cell phone radiation and other EMF exposures at night can interrupt sleep cycles and contribute to a host of ailments such as irritation of allergies, tiredness upon awakening, heart palpitations, muscle pain and weakness, and daytime irritability. These exposures can impede the function of the immune system and reduce the production of melatonin and other hormones at night. (11)
Believe it or not, “your body is more susceptible to cell phone and other microwave radiation while you are sleeping. This is because at night your body regenerates, your organs detoxify, and the natural melatonin that fights off cancer is produced.Thus, it is critical for your health and those around you that your nighttime environment be as electro-smog free as possible.” (12)
And don’t forget your children. Do not allow them to sleep with cell phones beneath their pillows or placed on a bedside table. If you don’t let them sleep with cell phones in their bedrooms, you’ll not go wrong.
Furthermore, don’t use wireless baby monitors as they all operate on microwave frequencies and your baby will be exposed to microwave radiation as it sleeps. Note, wired monitors are okay. (6)
15. Limit or eliminate Wi-Fi exposure. If you have a Wi-Fi router, make sure your router is a low-power model. Keep the router out of high use areas of your home. Keep it turned off as much as possible. Furthermore, make sure it is turned off during sleep hours.
Also, turn your cell phone’s Wi-Fi on only when you’re actually accessing a Wi-Fi router, otherwise it will be constantly communicating with the Wi-Fi router (and “zapping” you in the process).
16. Don’t forget your children at school. Ideally, schools should not use Wi-Fi. They should use hardwired (Ethernet) devices instead.
If there is Wi-Fi, it should only be turned on when it is specifically needed and then turned off again. Ideally, classrooms, school libraries and gyms should be Wi-Fi free.
17. Finally, if you are hard of hearing, as much as possible, use assistive listening devices (ALDs) that do not use pulsed microwaves. It would be more prudent to use wired systems or systems that use the much-lower 72 -76 MHz band that is set aside for assistive devices. Yes, they also put out radio frequency radiation, but at least, it is not up in the more-harmful microwave range.
At the same time, don’t refuse the help of assistive devices just because they use microwaves. Just use them prudently. Typically, they use lower power that cell phones and Wi-Fi units, so your microwave exposure will be less than would be the case with a cell phone, for example.
There you have it. As you can see, the real risk of all the microwave devices we (and our kids) are using is not their thermal effects, but their non-thermal effects. This is what we have to guard against.
If you are concerned about how microwave radiation can harm your own body and the bodies of your loved ones and kids, now is the time to take those precautions that fit in with your belief system and lifestyle.
Just as not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, so not every one who uses cell phones, Wi-Fi or other microwave devices will develop brain cancer or suffer other neurological damage. Some will and some won’t. There are many variables that contribute to your susceptibility.
Since you don’t know which group you will fall into, it seems wise and prudent to act now and limit, as much as is reasonably possible, your exposure to microwaves, rather than wait until bad things begin to happen in your family. I’m already doing what I can. Are you?
8. The Case for Precaution in the Use of Cell Phones. 2008. http://www.mindfully.org/Technology/2008/Cell-Phone-Precaution23jul08.htm.
9. Sinatra, Stephen, Dr. 2013. France Bans Wi-Fi from Schools—We Should All Do the Same.
10. Six Simple Steps Can Minimize EMF Exposure. 2013.