Using these common and seemingly safe devices significantly raises the risk of brain cancer in children.
This month millions of children will be heading back to school, and unlike generations before them most of them will be packing cell phones and other electronic devices.
While parents give phones to their kids as a way to contact them in case of an emergency, or as a convenient way to keep track of their children, they are also potentially risking their health.
One large study of cell phone use by children showed most kids now have them as a rule rather than an exception. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 31 percent of 8-10-year-olds, almost 70 percent of 11-to 14-year-olds, and 85 percent of 15- to 18-year-olds have cell phones. And, the majority of teens have owned a cell phone for five years or more.
From the earliest days of cellular devices, consumers, scientists and healthcare professionals have been concerned about their harmful effects. Holding a phone to your ear appears innocent enough, but there’s the health concern regarding long-term exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields that are emitted by them. We now know using these devices significantly increases the risk of brain cancer.
With more than five billion cell-phone users worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently classified the devices as possible cancer-causing agents, adding them to a list that also includes lead, DDT, engine exhaust and chloroform. The highest risk of brain tumors is found among those who use cell phones most frequently.
The WHO cited a 40 percent increased risk for glioma, which is a malignant brain tumor, for “heavy cell phone users” who averaged 30 minutes per day over a 10-year period.
If you’re one of the few who rely on a cell phone to get through the day, the best recommendation is to avoiding using it unless absolutely necessary, and for as short a time as possible. And, rely on hands-free technology.
Kids quickly develop the same habits as adults, spending time talking and texting, and keeping their cell phones on most of the time. In fact, kids are on the phone about an hour a day talking, and 90 minutes texting (averaging 118 messages a day!).
Experts say there is no safe level of cell phone use, only a probable safe duration of exposure — brain cells may be damaged after about 30 seconds of bombardment from wireless signals.
There’s also a significant increased risk of injury due to distraction while using cell phones, even when doing something seemingly simple like walking.
Dr. George Carlo, a former industry chief scientist, whistleblower, and author of “Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age,” discusses how electro-pollution from these devices can also cause an array of mental illnesses and genetic damage. Carlo says the industry’s user manuals don’t warn of the health hazards of cell phones because there are pending class-action lawsuits against them threatening to expose the entire industry, similar to the cases brought against Big Tobacco.
In his book, Carlo states that U.S. health policy is in contrast to that of Europe, “where British government officials issued a recommendation that all cell phones should carry warning labels alerting buyers that children shouldn’t use the phones because their skulls are more readily penetrated by cell phone radiation.”
Virtually everything we did during our youth can affect our physical, chemical and mental function as adults. There are many examples of childhood habits affecting health later in life. One is melanoma, the nastiest of malignant skin cancers in adults. Instead of understanding that sunburn is often the start of this condition, adults lather sunscreen onto children mistakenly thinking it’s the magic bullet.
We can now add cell-phone use to this list.