Is your cell phone hurting you?

  • Sun Oct 3rd, 2010 5:56am
  • Life
Is your cell phone hurting you?

Most of us give no thought to how cell phones, wireless routers, cordless phones, remotes or pagers work. We love the convenience and the connectedness. We assume they are safe to use and are unaware of the invisible radio frequency radiation that flows all around us and allows this technology to function.

On Oct. 6., 7p.m. at the Lopez Center, Dr. Sam Milham, physician and epidemiologist, will present a medical perspective of how the recent proliferation of radio frequency radiation impacts our health.

Dr. Milham was an epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Public health for 20 years. His special interests are: electromagnetic frequency epidemiology, congenital defects, occupational and environmental illness, and methods in occupational and environmental studies.

We invited Dr. Milham to raise awareness of the consequences of living near (within 100 feet) of a cell tower or antenna. Our County Council is poised to adopt a new wireless ordinance which will allow cell towers and antennas to be placed on any piece of property, with setbacks equal to the height of the tower, notification of neighbors will be reduced from 1000 feet to 300 feet and no radiation monitoring protocol will be specified. This means any of us could be living near a cell tower or antenna. We need to understand the implications.

We also invited him to examine the cultural assumption that all of the devices (cell phones, cordless phones, remotes, pagers etc.) we use are safe. We have surrounded ourselves with radio frequency radiation.

The discussion that is rarely heard in the United States is, how are the safety standards for this radiation set? Who sets them? How are they monitored? Do the standards reflect current research? Why are other countries adjusting their standards to be much more restrictive than ours?

Since the standards are based on an average lifetime exposure for an adult Caucasian male, 20 – 30 years of age, weighing 154 pounds, do these same standards provide enough safety for children? Why are 60 percent of Global Insurance underwriters refusing to cover claims for long-term use of cell phones? Why are our standards based on the concept that unless radiation exposure is strong enough to heat human tissue within 30 minutes it is safe?

Current research in the last 25 years has shown that biological effects happen with non-thermal exposures, especially long-term chronic exposures from sources like a cell tower or cordless phone base stations or wireless systems. Why are U.S. standards set at 904 milligauss even though more than 20 years of science show that cancer risk may increase at only 2 milligauss? The questions go on.

Our hope is that Dr. Milham encourages this discussion in our community. He believes there are choices we can make personally and as a society to coexist with this marvelous and potentially dangerous technology.