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Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association

Cell Phones, Invisible Hazards ...- Book

This book details research, as of 2001, that documents many of the hazards from using cell phones.

Cell Phones, Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age
Authors: Dr. George Carlo and Martin Schram
Publisher: Carroll and Graf, 2001
ISBN 0-7867-0818-2

Some quotes from the dust jacket -

"Are 100 million Americans and 500 million people worldwide exposed to potentially harmful radiation every time they use a cell phone?

"This book is a griping narrative of scientific detection that answers the above and other troubling questions, while telling a disturbing tale of governmental neglect, corporate manipulation, and personal tenacity and courage. ..."

Three chapters are worth noting, "Follow the Science: Heart Stopping Phone Calls," "Follow the Science: Interesting but Inconclusive Findings," and "Follow the Science: Red Flags."

The Heart Stopping Phone Calls chapter examines research to determine if cell phones affect medical equipment, in particular, heart pacemakers. Very early in the time of cell phone use, reports were coming in to the FDA about interference with pacemakers, and it became a high priority research issue.

Early research in Denmark suggested that cell phones had the capability to interfere with pacemakers. Research in Italy showed that when the phones were placed within 10 centimeters (4 inches) of pacemakers, there was often some kind of interference. In 101 patients with 43 different types of pacemakers from 11 manufacturers, interference was seen in 26 patients. In Switzerland, digital cell phones were tested on 39 pacemaker patients and demonstrated interference. In Australia, tests with ten patients reported problems when the cell phone antennas were within some 20 centimeters (8 inches) from the pacemaker. Significant differences were seen between the effects of digital and analog cell phones, with the digital phones causing more harm. Later tests at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami showed interference in 21 out of 59 pacemaker patients. Subsequent testing by the Mayo Clinic, out of 5,553 tests, showed significant danger in some 20 percent of the tests.

The cell phone industry response was blame the problem on inadequately designed or manufactured medical devices that did not have "proper" shielding.

This problem was an immediate and lasting hazard, so per federal law, a product recall should have been issued. Instead, an immediate solution worked out between the government, the pacemaker manufacturers, and the cell phone manufacturer was, instead of issuing a product recall for cell phones, to issue a consumer alert warning all pacemaker patients to keep their phones more than 15 centimeters (6 inches) from the pacemaker area.

A long-term solution was for the pacemaker manufacturers to - voluntarily, no legal requirements - install lead-wire filters in future pacemakers that are supposed to shield from the cell phone interference.

There is the open and undiscussed issue about just how the lead-wire filters are supposed to really solve the problem of RF interfering with the pacemaker operation. It appears that a working solution was found that may or may not really address the basic interference problem, so there may be significant interference problems still outstanding.

Further, there is the unstated implication that any pacemaker manufactured before the year 2000 is still vulnerable to being stopped by a nearby cell phone which was not addressed by the above actions.

The Inconclusive Findings chapter reports that research in Sweden that was seeing a potentially dangerous effect - "a consistent breakdown of the blood brain barrier following radio frequency exposures that are the same as from mobile phones.". Further research at Stanford University showed similar effects. But that research was not considered significant enough to warrant a general public health warning.

But this is an area of possible concern for people with environmental illnesses (EI's), and especially with Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EHS). Per some research, such as Dr. Pall's neural injury hypothesis, a weakness or injury in the blood brain barrier is involved in the MCS reaction. This has the implication is that RF exposure could worsen the MCS health condition or even bring on the EHS condition, which per research in Europe, is regarded as occurring in some fifty percent of MCS sufferers.

The Red Flags chapter reports research that cell phone radiation definitely does cause genetic changes in human blood cells. This particular damage to blood cell micronuclei is a strong indication of a cellular damage that will likely, in the long term, lead to the development of cancer. The chapter goes on to discuss the resistance to issuing a public health warning.

The book concludes with a variety of detailed and practical recommendations for consumers, for the mobile phone industry, and for scientific, medical, and public health officials, and especially for people with heart pacemakers. The book also has a few words of caution for consumers - about some well-meaning, but not well informed advice or special interests more interested in selling a product.

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Revised '4-Jun-2014,15:38:46'