“If we don’t change the way we use cell phones, we will face a global epidemic in 40 years, and by then it will be too late.” cautioned .
That’s the view of Dr. Devra Davis, a world-renown oncologist, and a leading a global campaigner in educating the public and policy makers about the strong link between cell phone usage and brain cancer, as well as other diseases.
She suggests that the number of people diagnosed with brain cancer within the next 40 years will skyrocket because of cell phone and wireless technology usage. She recently wrote a book about the topic, called Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone radiation, What the industry has done to hide it, and How to protect your Family.
“It was believed that it was biologically impossible for the weak radiation from a cell phone to have any impact, and that was a reasonable belief. And we now understand that that is not the case,” she said.
Davis, a winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, was in Ottawa on Nov. 24 to deliver a lecture for a local cancer awareness group, Prevent Cancer Now. In the lecture, she outlined the findings of various research studies conducted on the microwave radiation emitted from cellular devices, and how brain can be damaged and compromised by that radiation. It demonstrates how microwave radiation sent out in pulses by cell phones can penetrate the brain, and alter DNA in the brain, as well as damage brain cells.
This damage is even worse on children’s brains, who have smaller heads, thinner skulls, and brain issue developing at a faster rate than adults.
Davis also believes there is strong evidence to believe that heavy cell phone usage not only leads to brain cancer, but to other diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Other findings uncovered by Davis show how the storage of a cell phone in a woman’s bra can lead to breast cancer, and can also lead to a lower sperm count in men who store their cell phones in their pockets.
With the increasing number of people having dependence for their mobile devices, Davis feels it’s important to get all the information out to the public. It is estimated that 23.4 million Canadians use mobile devices, 90 per cent of which are adults.
“Most people would rather leave home without their underwear than their phone,” Davis said.
However, Davis’ message is not without its critics. They point to studies that show no direct relationship can be found between cell phone use and brain cancer. One such study the critics point to the Interphone Study, a global study of cell phone users released earlier this year. Some doctors in the field
But Davis argues that the 10-year study does not show conclusive results for the most part, because the study itself was flawed in how it collected information. Davis believes that because cell phones have come into wider use over the last several years, and that people are using these devices for multiple purposes. It is because of these factors that people are using their devices more often than they were 10 years ago.
What Davis does point to in the Interphone report was that those that used their phones the most — 15 hours a month or more — were found to be at a double risk of developing brain cancer in the future.
There is a lot of controversy regarding what cell phones can actually do to our bodies, and that is because the first studies did not come up with clear results. Davis presented a couple different reasons why this has been the case.
First, she argues that when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945, it was 40 years before any of the side effects of the radiation displayed itself in the form of cancer. Cancer caused by cell phone use will take as long to display the effects, and mobile devices have not been around that long.
She also noted that most of the research being done on the subject is not through government departments, but through the wireless industry itself. Because of their vested interest in the success of their industry, Davis says they cannot be relied upon for accurate study on the issue.
“There was a premature conclusion of safety that basically cut off all research,” said Davis. “I hope that we don’t wait until we’ve flushed out the link. But the fact is its going to take a long time before we have definitive information. While we wait, we should take simple precautions.”
Davis said consumers can take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their families from the radiation of cell phones. She suggests using speakerphone whenever possible, keeping the phone off when not in use, and storing it close to the body, and keeping them away from children.
“Distance is your friend,” is the general rule that Davis says should be adopted.
Davis was in Ottawa to launch a lecture series put on by Prevent Cancer Now, which aims to educate the public on ways they can lower their cancer risk.