Mobile phone health scares go beyond brain tumors.
Subject: Tumors (Risk factors)
Tumors (Development and progression)
Smart phones (Health aspects)
Author: Gittleman, Ann Louise
Pub Date: 08/01/2012
Publication: Name: Townsend Letter Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group Audience: General; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The Townsend Letter Group ISSN: 1940-5464
Issue: Date: August-Sept, 2012 Source Issue: 349-350
Topic: Canadian Subject Form: Tumours; Tumours Computer Subject: Smart phone
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 303012909
Full Text: The debate over cell phone use just took a dramatic turn. Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem have found that cases of cancerous or benign parotid gland tumors--the parotid (or salivary) gland being the gland located closest to where people hold their phones--have quadrupled since 1970. The greatest rise was since 2001, just when cell phone use skyrocketed in Israel.

This evidence flies in the face of arguments that there has been no increase in tumors since cell phones became popular. And a new study in Epidemiology shows that over time there's been a substantial increase of cancerous parotid gland cases--there were 44 per year before 2001 and 72 per year after. Research reports no increase in cancer cases in two other types of parotid glands further away from where we hold our cell phones. The new findings confirm earlier evidence linking heavy cell phone use with "significantly elevated risks" for salivary gland tumors. And even more important, work in Sweden shows that design flaws in the Interphone Study have led to underestimated risks for brain tumors from mobile phone use.

These design flaws include problems with the way that the data were collected and the accuracy of recall from study patients about their specific cell phone use. In addition, the cell phone industry itself provided a portion of the funding--raising an eyebrow of bias. Either way, the potential outcomes from underestimating these risks are concerning.

It Happened to Me

It was my own (thankfully benign) parotid gland tumor that convinced me to delve more deeply into the research on electropollution. Sadly, I'm not alone. Celebrities such as Roger Ebert, Lebron James, and Adam Yaugh of the Beastie Boys have all had parotid gland tumors. And during his battle with cancer, John McCain had his lymph nodes and--as a precaution--part of his left parotid gland removed.

Shown in my latest book, Zapped, it's not just cell phones, but also cordless phones, PDAs, antennae, microwaves, satellite TVs and radios, and WiFi that are wreaking havoc with our health today.

As my research discovered, rare salivary gland and brain tumors aren't the only risks from 24/7 exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by these devices. EMFs produce subliminal stress that the human body doesn't recognize.

This "stealth stress" raises Hood pressure, impacts blood sugar levels, and raises stress hormone (cortisol) levels, making it hard to get a good night's sleep.

Studies show that exposure to cell phones and certain electrical systems lowers production of thyroid hormones. And this can cause depression, fatigue, joint pain, low heart rate, muscle aches, and weight gain. EMFs can even elevate bad cholesterol levels, increasing your risk for heart disease.

Electropollution also damages fertility, affecting sperm count, motility, and viability. It's critical that pregnant women reduce their exposure to cell phones and other EMFs, which have been linked to miscarriage as well as later developmental and emotional problems in their children.

That goes for children of any age, too. Because of their smaller size and developing brains, children are especially vulnerable While mobile phone radiation reaches a relatively small portion of an adult's brain, EMFs penetrate most of a child's brain.

And younger people will be exposed to electropollution for much longer than adults. In the Hebrew University study, 20% of the incidences of parotid gland tumors occurred in people under 20 years of age!

Forewarned Is Forearmed

As a former cell phone addict, I've learned to wean myself a great deal from my own digital and wireless devices--but I know that's not easy or possible for many people. That's why rather than fear-mongering, Zapped offers many realistic and simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family from this new invisible form of pollution.

For starters, here are a few simple tips:

* Text, rather than talk, whenever feasible.

* Use speaker mode with both cell and cordless phones, and use a land line at home and work.

* Reduce your total wireless exposure, turning off your router at night and using a wired mouse.

* Don't put your laptop in your lap, and use "grounding" or Earthing pads under your computer to protect your body from a buildup of electrical charges.

* Don't use your phones when reception is poor (in elevators, subways, and trains) since it has to power up even more to get a signal to the tower, and turn it off when you're not using it.

* Limit children's cell/cordless phone use to emergencies, and consider following the dictates of European countries that restrict the use of cell phones to people 18 years of age or older.

Zap-Proof Nutrition

As a nutritionist, I've discovered a number of foods and supplements that can help lessen damage from electropollution. My favorite is artichokes--with an antioxidant capacity that earned the number one spot on the USDA's vegetable list. The stand-out component in this vegetable for EMF protection is silymarin, which is 10 times as potent an antioxidant as vitamin E. This all-star increases the body's production of glutathione and SOD--the liver's premier antioxidant and key enzyme diminished by EMF exposure.

If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep all night--one of the early symptoms of electropollution--consider at least 3 mg of melatonin. This antioxidant hormone is five times more powerful than vitamin C, and regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Dozens of studies show that EMFs can lower the body's production of this hormone that bolsters the immune system, which gets tamped down by electropollution, and has been found to help fight cancer.

I recommend that everyone, particularly those over 60, take one capsule of melatonin in a time-release formula at bedtime for a good night's sleep and EMF protection. This supplement also contains zap-proof minerals--manganese, selenium, and zinc--for added antioxidant protection.

Also, make sure that you and your children get sufficient amounts of vitamin D, another all-star EMF protector--most Americans don't. Calcitrol, the active form of vitamin D3, is a terrific radioprotectant, even against low-level background radiation. It helps facilitate communications between the cells, which is interrupted by electropollution, and activates the immune system.

Adults can take one to two capsules daily of vitamin D-5000, containing vitamin D3. And make sure your children get calcitrol (or D3) in their multis.


Czerninski R, Zini A, Sgan-Cohen HD. Risk of parotid malignant tumors in Israel (1970-2006). Epidemiology. January 2011;22(1):130-131. Available at = HPxADx20100319xMP

Gittleman AL. Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution. HarperOne; 2011.

Hardell group's re-analysis of the Interphone methods [blog post]. EMFacts Consultancy. = 1382.

Havas M. Another Interphone study says increased risk of brain tumors with high radio frequency exposure [online article]. Jan. 6, 2012. available at

IARC: cell phone radiation is a possible human carcinogen [online article]. Microwave News. June 3, 2011.

Joshi S. Health threat to mobile users: JNU study. Hindu News. Jan. 5, 2011. Available at
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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