My grandfather lived well into his 90’s. Physically, he was in excellent shape ’til even the end. In his mid 80’s, he rode major roller coasters and The Power Tower with me at Cedar Point. He had the strength of a horse and plenty of endurance. But eventually, he succumbed to Alzheimer’s.
It takes just one hand to count how many times I saw him sip a drink during the two decades we shared together on earth. He never smoked, but always shared how others picked on him for that his whole life.
Folks thought he was crazy to even suggest the idea that cigarettes were unhealthy. Even his wife, my grandmother, was a nurse who smoked a couple packs per day. Likewise for pretty much everyone else around him.
For probably 50 years, he had to deal with these critics of his tobacco free lifestyle…
Do you feel like you’re experiencing the same today, but with cell phones?
90% of your friends and family will probably chuckle at you, if you express health concerns about wireless phones or WiFi (which operates at a very similar frequency).
Do cell phones cause cancer? They tell you absolutely not. But what they absolutely don’t understand is biology.
If they did, they would respect the fact that most cancers are very slow to form.
For example, brain tumors caused by radiation take an estimated 10 to 30 years to form. Sometimes even longer (1).
Even with breast cancer, it’s not detectable for up to 8 years after the cancerous cell mutations first started (2).
Despite that, naysayers will say you’re dumb to question their safety, because they’ve been using cell phones for 15 or 20 years now.
Or using WiFi for 10 years. Speaking of which, that technology has only been around since 1997 (3).
To be clear, officially the answer today is that neither cellular nor wifi causes cancer. However, the World Health Organization has categorized radio frequency electromagnetic fields (which includes cell and WiFi) as being possibly “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, with a Group 2B rating.
They slapped on that classification in 2011. The growing body of evidence suggesting carcinogenicity meant concluding them to be safe was premature. They want to see more safety studies (4).
Given the slow nature of cancers and the countless other risk factors in modern life, it will likely be a number of years until we conclusively know for sure whether cell phones are safe or not.
Avoiding these wireless technologies altogether is not feasible and frankly, not desirable for most of us. They are more than a modern convenience, as many of us have occupations which require their constant use.
Taking the pros and cons (unknown side effects) into consideration, perhaps the best approach is to simply minimize exposure. One of the easiest ways to do that is with a radiation blocking cell phone case.
Do anti-radiation phone cases work?
Yes and no. It depends on the model. None will be effective at blocking 100% of the radiation, but some can greatly diminish that amount which comes in contact with your head or body.
No, they don’t work in the sense that some models and products being sold are complete scams. While less common now, in the past on Ebay and Alibaba, you would see anti-radiation stickers for iPhone which seem quite dubious, from a technological and scientific perspective.
Keeping a cell phone on talk mode in a pocket can decrease sperm quality, according to new research from the Cleveland Clinic.
“We believe that these devices are used because we consider them very safe, but it could cause harmful effects due to the proximity of the phones and the exposure that they are causing to the gonads,” says lead researcher Ashok Agarwal, the Director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine.
In the small study, Agarwal’s team took semen samples from 32 men and brought them to the lab. Each man’s sample was placed into small, conical tubes and divided into two parts: a test group and a control group. The control group was unexposed to cell phone emissions, but kept under the same conditions and temperature as the test group.
The semen in the test group was placed 2.5 centimeters from an 850 MHz cell phone in talk mode for 1 hour. Researchers say that 850 MHz is the most commonly used frequency.
They used the measurement of 2.5 centimeters to mimic the distance between the trouser pocket and the testes. Agarwal reasoned that many men keep their active cell phones in their pants pocket while talking on their headsets.
Overall, researchers found an increase in oxidative stress such as a significant increase in free radicals and oxidants and a decrease in antioxidants. Agarwal says that equals a decrease in sperm’s quality, including motility and viability. Evidence of oxidative stress can appear under other conditions, including exposure to certain environmental pollutants or infections in the urinary genital tract.
“On average, there was an 85 percent increase in the amount of free radicals for all the subjects in the study. Free radicals have been linked to a variety of diseases in humans including cancer,” said Agarwal. Free radicals have been linked to decreased sperm quality in previous studies.
However, the study does have major limitations, he acknowledged, such as the small sample size. It also was conducted in a lab and so cannot account for the protection a human body might offer, such as layers of skin, bone and tissue. Agarwal is in the early stages of further research that can model the human body’s role in protecting from radio-frequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones.
Agarwal also admits that there is no clear explanation of this demonstrated effect, but he shared some of his theories. “Perhaps the cell phone radiation is able to affect the gonads through a thermal effect thereby increasing the temperature of the testes and causing damaging effects in the sperm cell.”
In a previous study, Agarwal and his team found that men who used their cell phones more than four hours a day had significantly lower sperm quality than those who used their cell phones for less time. Those findings were based on self-reported data from 361 subjects.
While representatives from the cell phone industry had not yet reviewed the latest study, they were careful not to give this study much merit. “The weight of the published scientific evidence, in addition to the opinion of global health organizations, shows that there is no link between wireless usage and adverse health effects,” said Joe Farren, a spokesman for the CTIA-the Wireless Association.
“We support good science and always have,” he said. “It’s important to look at studies that are peer-reviewed and published in leading journals and to listen to the experts.”
Agarwal emphasized that it is far too early for men to start changing cell phone carrying habits, noting that his own cell phone was in his pocket as he talked to CNN.
“Our study has not provided proof that you should stop putting cell phones in your pocket. There are many things that need to be proven before we get to that stage,” he said.