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Researchers have documented a strong link between cell phone use and brain tumors.
Malignant brain tumors now kill more children than any other kind of cancer. That’s not the result that the cell phone industry was expecting when it began to fund studies on the safety of its products back in 1993.Between 1993 and 1999, the cell phone industry spent more than $28 million on safety studies, and Dr. George Carlo, Chairman and Founder of the Science and Public Policy Institute, is the researcher who received most of that funding. He originally believed that cell phones were completely safe, but through his research he has discovered personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by cell phones.

When Dr. Carlo’s studies found a conclusive link between cell phone use and brain tumors, the cell phone industry ended his funding, and he became a strong a critic of cell phones and the industry behind them. Dr. Carlo doesn’t propose a ban on cell phones, but he and other scientists do believe that children should use them only in emergencies, and that adults should use them as little as possible.

Another prominent researcher who has quantified the dangers in cell phone use is Dr. Lenhart Hardell of the Department of Oncology, University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. Dr. Hardell is an internationally acclaimed epidemiologist with whom I have consulted over the years because of his expertise in solvent associated cancers. Cell phones became popular in Sweden in the early 1980s, long before they did in the United States, and Dr. Hardell has been studying their effects for more than 10 years. His findings leave no doubt that cell phones are dangerous:

Results from present studies on use of mobile phones for > or =10 years give a consistent pattern of increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma. The risk is highest for ipsilateral (meaning a person who uses a cell phone exclusively on one side of the head) exposure.

The risk of deadly brain tumors and other personal injuries is real for adults who use a cell phone, and it increases significantly for children. Children’s skulls are not as thick as adults’ skulls, and children’s developing organs and brains are more susceptible to the damage done by the electromagnetic waves used in cell phones. Images have shown that the radiation penetration from a cell phone is 25% on an adult’s head, but as high as 75% on the head of a young child.

Researchers have linked children’s use of cell phones to other health and social problems, and a study completed in 2008 found that when pregnant women used cell phones regularly, their children suffered more behavioral problems than children whose mothers didn’t use cell phones. The children of mothers who used cell phones were 80% more likely to have problems than children whose mothers rarely or never use cell phones.

In spite of that scary picture, phone companies are designing and aggressively marketing cell phones exclusively for children. Some of the phones even target children as young as 3.

And when reports that link cell phones to tumors and illnesses have surfaced, cell phone companies have used their financial clout to discredit the stories and even to intimidate the researchers who identified the dangers.

Researchers have now conducted hundreds of studies on cell phone safety, and many of those studies have found an undeniable link between cell phone use and brain tumors.

Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana, a brain surgeon who trained at the Mayo Clinic and who practices in Australia, reviewed many important studies on cell phone safety and reached these conclusions:

• There is currently enough evidence and technology available to warrant Industry and Governments alike in taking immediate steps to reduce exposure of consumers to mobile phone-related electromagnetic radiation and to make consumers clearly aware of potential dangers and how to use this technology sensibly and safely.

• It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children.

Cell phone companies know that they’re selling dangerous products, but they’re not likely to issue any warnings or to suggest that people reduce their talking time. That would make them look exactly like the tobacco companies who knew the dangers of cigarettes for decades but continued to claim that they were safe.

Ultimately, it was a group of personal injury lawyers who exposed the tobacco companies and delivered compensation to their victims.

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Richard Alexander