Nearly 200 scientists warn of cellphone health risks
Biological and health scientists from Russia and Iran to the USA are calling on the UN, the World Health Organization and national governments to develop strict regulations concerning devices and cellphones that create electromagnetic fields.
The scientists are from 39 nations and have authored 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the health and biological effects of non-ionizing radiation, which is part of the electromagnetic field spectrum. In a letter, they say that devices like cellphones pose risks of cancer, genetic damage, changes in reproductive system, and learning and memory deficits.
“Putting it bluntly they are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely,”said Dr. Martin Blank, from the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, in a video message.
“We have created something that is harming us, and it is getting out of control. Before Edison’s light bulb there was very little electromagnetic radiation in our environment. The levels today are very many times higher than natural background levels, and are growing rapidly because of all the new devices that emit this radiation.”
One example that was cited is the cellphone. Blank pointed to a study which showed that as cellphone usage has spread widely, the incidence of fatal brain cancer in younger people has more than tripled.
The scientists see the unregulated use of radio frequency radiation in cellphones and Wi-Fi as developing into a public health crisis. Blank said biologists and scientists are not being heard from committees that set safety standards, that safety limits are much too high and that biological facts are being ignored.
“They are not protective,” he added. “We are really all part of large biological experiment without our informed consent. To protect ourselves, our children, and our ecosystem, we must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”
Scientists are appealing to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to “convene and fund an independent multidisciplinary committee to explore the pros and cons of alternative to current practices that could substantially lower human exposure to RF and ELF fields.”
They request that the deliberations be “transparent and impartial,” and involve industry players in the field. However, scientists believe industry “should not be allowed to bias the process or conclusions.” Once completed, the analysis would offer the UN and WHO a guide for precautionary action.
Questions have surfaced about the safety of EMF among the scientific community and with the public, but it is largely absent from national debate despite the ubiquitous use of devices, particularly in the United States.
“…In the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place…to suggest it might be a problem – maybe, eventually, a very public-health problem – is like saying our shoes might be killing us,” wrote journalist Christopher Ketchum in a 2010 GQ article called “Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”
Ketchum said a 2008 study sponsored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France reported that after a decade of cellphone use, the chances of getting a brain tumor – specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone – go up as much as 40 percent for adults.