Cell Phones, Wireless Dangers News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on cell phone and wireless dangers
A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world. Bee populations dropped 17 percent in the UK last year, according to the British Bee Association, and nearly 30 percent in the United States says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Parasitic mites called varroa, agricultural pesticides and the effects of climate change have all been implicated in what has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder" (CCD). But researchers in India believe cell phones could also be to blame for some of the losses. In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day. After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced. It's not just the honey that will be lost if populations plummet further. Bees are estimated to pollinate 90 commercial crops worldwide. Their economic value in the UK is estimated to be $290 million per year and around $12 billion in the U.S..
Imposing roughly the same cautionary standards for cellphones as for fatty food or sugary soda, this city -- never shy about its opinions -- voted on [June 15] to require all retailers to display the amount of radiation each phone emits. The law -- believed to be the first of its kind in the nation -- came ... amid opposition from the wireless telephone industry, which views the labeling ordinance as a potential business-killing precedent. But the administration of Gavin Newsom, the city's ... mayor ... called the vote a major victory for cell phone shoppers' right to know. Under the law, retailers will be required to post materials -- in at least 11-point type -- next to phones, listing their specific absorption rate, which is the amount of radio waves absorbed into the cellphone user's body tissue. These so-called SAR rates can vary from phone to phone, but all phones sold in the United States must have a SAR rate no greater than 1.6 watts per kilogram, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the $190 billion wireless industry.
Scientists at the National Institute of Health on [February 22] released a study that showed 50 minutes of cellphone use could alter the activity of the part of the brain closest to a cellphone antenna. The study was led by Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Her research shows that those people exposed to 50 minutes of cellphone radio frequencies saw an increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. "The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain," JAMA wrote in background material on the study's release. "However, whether acute cellphone exposure affects the human brain is unclear." Public-interest groups say the regulatory agencies haven't updated guidelines on cellphone health in more than one decade. And the rapid adoption of cellphones -- 290 million in the U.S. -- call for greater protections, particularly among children who have thinner skulls and ears than adult cellphone users.
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Three years ago, at the age of 48, Camilla Rees had to leave her apartment in downtown San Francisco. Not because of the rent, she says, but because of the radiation. Her personal radiation meter -- yes, such things exist -- spiked after a lawyer couple moved in next door. Rees says she quickly lost her ability to think clearly. "I was unfocused, as if I had suddenly come down with ADHD. I would wake up dizzy in the morning. I'd collapse to the floor. I had to leave to escape that nightmare." Rees asked the neighbors if they had installed a new Wi-Fi router, and sure enough they had, on the wall near Rees' bed. Since then, Rees, a former investment banker, has been on a crusade against low-level electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, of all types, including the microwave radiation that flows from cellphones and cellphone towers. She co-wrote the 2009 book Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution, one of many recent books to warn against the dangers of EMFs, and founded the website electromagnetichealth.org.
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Scientists on Thursday warned US legislators of the risks of brain cancer from cell phone use, highlighting the potential risk for children who use mobile phones. "We urgently need more research," said David Carpenter, director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany, in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. "We must not repeat the situation we had with the relationship between smoking and lung cancer," Carpenter said. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said that most studies "claiming that there is no link between cell phones and brain tumors are outdated, had methodological concerns and did not include sufficient numbers of long-term cell phone users." Many studies denying a link "defined regular cell phones as 'once a week,'" added Herberman. "I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are definitely dangerous. But, I certainly cannot tell you that they are safe," he said. Carpenter and Herberman both told the committee the brain cancer risk from cell phone use is far greater for children than for adults. Herberman held up a model for lawmakers showing how radiation from a cell phone penetrates far deeper into the brain of a 5-year-old than that of an adult. "Every child is using cell phones all of the time, and there are three billion cell phone users in the world," said Herberman. He added that, like the messages that warn of health risks on cigarette packs, cell phones "need a precautionary message."
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