• 10 SEP 13
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    Cellphones and Health by Dr. Joel Moskowitz

    From Joel Moskowitz

    Reprinted from The Green Gazette, Sept/Oct 2013 issue, pp. 8-9

    In the last issue we explored the potential hazards of electromagnetic radiation from iPad use. We learned about warnings from the European parliaments and doctors’ associations in various countries, and discussed the differences between pulsed digital wireless signals and continuous analogue radio waves. This time we are pleased to invite Dr. Joel Moskowitz to share his research findings regarding the health effects of cellphones.

    I started studying the effects of cellphone radiation when Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung, a physician and epidemiologist from the National Cancer Center of South Korea, spent a year working in my center at UC Berkeley. He specializes in meta-analysis, a method by which data are combined across studies to generate more robust conclusions.

    My colleagues and I reviewed research that examined the association between cellphone use and tumor risk. When we grouped the 23 studies based upon quality of the research, we found strong group differences. In the 13 studies which failed to meet scientific best practices, we found what appeared to be reduced tumor risk. The 10 higher-quality studies found a harmful association between cellphone use and tumor risk. Also, the higher quality studies had no funding from the cellular industry whereas the lower quality studies had at least partial industry funding.

    Since our study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2009, I have reviewed hundreds of cellphone radiation studies. There is evidence that cellphone radiation may damage sperm and increase male infertility, increase risk of reproductive health problems, increase brain glucose metabolism, and alter EEG readings.

    Many individuals have reported developing a sensitivity to cellphone radiation and other forms of radiofrequency energy. They experience various allergic symptoms which may include ringing in their ears, headaches, dizziness, an irregular heartbeat, and memory and sleep problems. This condition, known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, is considered a functional impairment in Sweden. The incidence of this condition, which is not easily diagnosed, appears to be increasing in many countries with the proliferation of “electrosmog.”

    We need more research on the short-term and long term risks; risks to children and adolescents who are more vulnerable; reproductive health risks, and risks of newer technologies. We need to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to health effects and how to reduce the risks. Many scientists believe that there are mechanisms other than “heat” at work. Currently, the regulations adopted by most governments, including Canada and the U.S., only address the heating effect produced by cellphone radiation. They completely ignore biologic reactivity.


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