Microwave - and other forms of electromagnetic - radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process originally described in the 1970s as Microwave Sickness.
Monday, July 09, 2012
What if your mobile phone is giving you brain cancer?
What if your mobile phone is giving you brain cancer?
There are three undisputed facts about the link between mobile phones and brain tumours. Firstly, the jury is still out. Secondly, the number of mobile phone users is increasing rapidly and currently stands at over five billion worldwide. Thirdly, IF there is a causal link between exposure to non-ionising radiation and brain tumours, then the social and financial consequences would be devastating and on a scale never before witnessed in history.
Oh sure, next you'll be telling me cigarettes are bad for me! Pic: Supplied
With over twenty one million mobile phones in use in Australia, why are we not spending the resources on finding the answer? Perhaps the answer is one that all of us would rather not imagine. Could those with a vested interest be misguiding us?
The other, less divisive explanation is that epidemiologists and scientists truly believe that the jury is no longer out and that there is absolutely no link.
But allow me to be blunt for a moment. One of the strongest criticisms of studies that show a link is that they have required the users to rely on their memory and recollect their usage times from years before. How many of us could accurately remember their phone usage? This criticism would be addressed definitively if the telcos would give access to phone usage records - but no telcos have allowed scientists access to their records for these large studies.
Read the news story, the Cancer Council’s perspective, and a response from the telecommunications industry here.
Of all the studies in the world literature, of those that show a link, not one has been funded by the telco industry. Of those that show no link, up to 75 per cent have been funded at least partially by industry (1, 2). The study most quoted by those that say there is no link is the Interphone Study and that study still concludes that “the possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation” (3).
I am not an expert on electromagnetic radiation. Nor am I an expert on the molecular effects of non-ionising radiation on cellular biology. However, I am an expert on brain cancer and witness every day the devastating effects this disease has on families and society. Like any member of the public, I simply wish to know the truth.
I see 10 to 20 new patients each week and at least one third of those patients’ tumours are in the area of the brain around the ear. As a neurosurgeon I cannot ignore this fact and while I may personally believe there is a link between brain tumours and EMR exposure, I need evidence to support it and evidence takes careful planning and funds.
Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the current dependence of people on “instant” communication and I don’t presume we might change this phenomenon but to propose that the telcos open their records in the spirit of full disclosure and fund research would be a shining example of corporate responsibility.
Brain cancer statistics are not pretty. Two of the largest centres in the world have documented a disturbing rise in the incidence of brain tumours, the CBTRUS and the Office of National Statistics in the UK (4) where figures suggest a 50 per cent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumours between 1999 and 2009.
Brain cancer has no cure. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths for those under 39 in Australia and it kills more Australian children and women under 35 than any other cancer. The time to address brain cancer is now.
Most of the largest studies on mobile phones are flawed by study design. The Interphone Study refused to include children and corporate users, arguably two of the highest risk groups. We need to design a study that is not flawed from the start and one that acknowledges that non-ionising radiation, if responsible for cancer, will take at least 10 years of exposure to manifest because exposure to ionising radiation has a ten year latency before resulting in cancer.
We also need to acknowledge that on a molecular level, cancer may result from many different mechanisms, not just DNA mutations and we need to fund these epidemiological studies transparently together with or independent of telcos or other interest groups.
This week is Brain Cancer Action Week and I encourage neurosurgeons to share their own surgery statistics and tissue samples on the tumours they see daily to help the evidential fight. I encourage the telcos to be courageous and I encourage everyone to support the telco who first cares to fund brain cancer research.
Brain Cancer Action Week is May 6 to 12. Meet Dr Charlie Teo AM and his fellow speakers Keri Huxley and Andrew Penman at the Cure For Life ROBUST lunchtime discussion series at Martin Place. The ROBUST discussion and rigorous debate series are free to attend on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12.15pm. Follow the debate on twitter @cureforlife and hashtag #CFLROBUST
References 1. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Jan;115(1): 1-4.Source of funding and results of studies of health effects of mobile phone use: systematic review of experimental studies; and Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health, University of California, Berkley…”around three quarters of the ‘negative’ studies - no health risks – are funded by industry”
2. Don Maisch: “Spin in the Antipodes: Political and corporate involvement with cell phone research in Australia” [Examples: IARC “observers” include: Joe Elder, representing the Mobile Manufactures Forum (previously a long-term Motorola employee); Jack Rowley, representing the GSM Association (a previously long-term Telstra employee), and Mays Swicord representing the Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association (previously a long-term Motorola employee)].
3. International Journal of Epidemiology 2010;1–20 Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case–control study
4. Office of National Statistics: figures suggest a 50 per cent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumours between 1999 and 2009.
BlackBerry’s booklet states: “Use hands-free operation if available and keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98in (25mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers) when the BlackBerry is turned on and connected to the wireless network… reduce the amount of time spent on calls.” and the iPhone4 guide says: “...when using the iPhone near your body for voice calls or wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep it at least 5/8inch (15mm) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 5/8inch (15mm) separation between iPhone and the body.”
The Premier of NSW Barry O’Farrell announced at The Cure For Life Cinderella Ball on Saturday night that the NSW Government and Minister for Health and Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, will give $100 000 specifically for brain cancer research.