International Health News

Safety of cell phones revisited

COVENTRY, UNITED KINGDOM. Public concern over the safety of cell phones (mobile telephones) continues to grow. Dr. G.J. Hyland of the University of Warwick and the International Institute of Biophysics in Germany has just released an excellent review of the current knowledge on the subject. Current safety guidelines essentially look at cell phones as small microwave ovens and as long as they don't heat up your scull and adjacent brain tissue by more than one degree Celsius they are deemed to be safe. Dr. Hyland points out that the phone emits low intensity, pulsed radiation that can have a variety of non-thermal effects. For example, cell phones emit frequencies in the 2 Hz and 8.34 Hz bands that correspond exactly to the frequencies of electrical oscillations found in the human brain (delta and alpha brain waves).

Animal experiments have discovered many serious effects of cell phone radiation including errors in cell division, induction of epilepsy, depression of melatonin levels, increase in DNA breaks, and promotion of lymphomas. Reports of headaches and sleep disturbances in people using cell phones have also been published and some fairly recent research concluded that exposure to cell phone frequencies increases blood pressure. Of equal concern is the fact that cell phones produce strong electromagnetic fields (EMFs). As a matter of fact, the EMF from a cell phone placed right next to your ear is 160 times stronger than the maximum allowable EMF from a computer video monitor. The evidence of risk from base stations (transmission towers) is somewhat sparser although there is strong anecdotal evidence that certain animals thrive much better away from the towers than near them.

Dr. Hyland points out that Soviet microwave radiation of western embassies during the "Cold War" was quite successful in making the personnel sick. He is convinced that the non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation may have serious health repercussions and urges further research on the matter. [47 references]
G.J. Hyland. Physics and biology of mobile telephony. The Lancet, Vol. 356, November 25, 2000, pp. 1833-36
Dendy, Philip P. Mobile phones and the illusory pursuit of safety. The Lancet, Vol. 356, November 25, 2000, pp. 1782-83 (commentary)

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