From Lloyd Morgan
To the List,
I would like our activist community to consider using different units of measurements when discussing the power absorbed by our brains when using a cellphone. This is referred to as Specific Absorption Rate or SAR.
Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) when discussed as total energy absorbed over time is Specific Absorption (SA). SA is considered the “dose” when discussing cellphones. As I discuss below, SA has the same international scientific unit as does ionizing radiation.
The SAR measurement units, as expressed by the cellphone industry are Watts per Kilogram (power per unit of tissue mass). Watts are joules per second (energy per unit of time).
If we take the SAR of a given cellphone and multiply it by the time we are used the cellphone, then we have the total energy absorbed per unit of tissue mass, the SA. Because the rate is remove, rather than watts (joules per second) we use joules/kg.
The international standard term for SA is Gray. Gray is defined as joules per kilogram. Using the same international standard for SAR, the units are Gray per second.
It is clear why Gray has never been used by industry. It is immediately associated with ionizing radiation. Nevertheless it is the appropriate measurement units per international scientific agreement.
Politically this international standard term for the energy absorption in tissue is the “elephant in the room.” The elephant is there in the room, but no one dare mention it, because it is immediately associated with the known carcinogen ionizing radiation.
The existing paradigm (particularly among physicists) is that ionizing radiation, sometime called the universal carcinogen, causes cancer by breaking chemical bonds in DNA (thus “ionizing” the DNA molecule). Because non-ionizing radiation does not have the energy to break chemical bonds, non-ionizing radiation cannot possibly cause cancer.
This paradigm has an essential flaw. While it is true that non-ionizing radiation cannot possibly break chemical bonds, the logical flaw is that this paradigm assumes the only possible mechanism required from non-ionizing radiation is that it break chemical bonds. Implicitly, this paradigm is saying that the ONLY mechanism for radiation to cause cancer is the breaking of chemical bonds.
A year ago last May I attended a National Cancer Institute class on “Radiation Epidemiology.” I learned that when ionizing radiation breaks bonds in DNA free radicals are created. And it is the free radicals that damage the DNA further, creating the kind of damage associated with cancer. I have also seen reports that non-ionizing radiation has been associated with free radicals production and/or the increase of the lifetime of a free radicals. Perhaps the nexus for cancer between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is free radical production?
We, as activists have a duty to stimulate discussion. My suggestion is that we begin to use Gray or Gray per second when discussing cellphone SARs or SAs. One of the benefits is that such a discussion stimulates thinking outside of the existing paradigm (dogma?). It also allow for the potential nexus of a known carcinogen, ionizing radiation and a potential carcinogen, non-ionizing radiation.
Both the United States’ Government and the World Health Organization have already declared power frequency EMFs to be a Class 2B carcinogen. Though this fact is hardly known in the wider public, it provides another tool for us to use when we are discussing cellphone radiation.
These are my thoughts. I would appreciate your thoughts in return.
Director, Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States
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