How harmful are your mobile phones and towers?

We’ve all heard about it – mobile phones are harmful to health. There are several chain emails, Facebook and Twitter updates about it. We wanted to get to the bottom of it all. So we caught up with Neha Kumar an expert on the topic of mobile radiation and director, NESA, a firm which designs radiation measurement and shielding equipment. She has been studying about radiation from cell phones/towers for about three years and has interacted with experts, researchers, doctors and patients around the world who have been affected by prolonged exposure to cell phone/tower radiation. 
Excerpts from the interview:
 
How exactly does mobile radiation cause health problems?

Mobile phones and towers emit electromagnetic radiation having health effects which can be divided into thermal and non-thermal. Thermal effects refer to heating effect which you observe if you hold the phone for long near your ear.

Non-thermal effects on the cells, genes and the DNA and are more harmful than thermal effects.
Excessive use of mobiles can lead to headache, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, memory loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and increased risk of brain cancer.

Having mobile towers in your neighbourhood can also pose health problems like severe headache, sleep disturbance, constant body pain, memory problems, joint pains etc. The more severe health effects noted include infertility, miscarriage, neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), heart problems and cancer.

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Maine utility admits smart meters cause interference

EMF Safety Network, Nov. 19, 2011

Utility meters are breaking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule not to interfere with other radio frequency devices.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Maine Public Advocate’s office released a statement this week saying:

“Smart Meters are interfering with a wide range of household electronic devices, from garage door openers and WiFi devices to security systems.”

On Central Maine Power’s FAQ, in answer to the question: “Will the smart meter interfere with my other household appliances such as computer routers, television signal, cordless phones, etc.?” they respond: “Separating interfering devices usually reduces interference, so make sure the wireless device is located as far from the smart meter as possible. Also, adjust the position of the antenna on the device, if possible, and move the wireless device away from any walls that may absorb the signal.” Full story

Cell phone: A blessing or a curse? (Part 1)

Arab News, Sept. 28, 2011

According to experts, being frequently in the way of radio wave radiation can disrupt the electrical field of the human body and brain cells or neurons. The brain suffers the most hits and damage. Due to such exposure, the electrical fields of human cells get negatively influenced, resulting in symptoms and diseases without showing immediate apparent harm. Such interference affects cell growth, resulting in DNA damage. Casual symptoms start appearing as disturbed sleep, anxiety, irritability and then depressive disorders. Confusion, inability to concentrate and memory decline are other mental disorders. Suppressed immunity lead to child and adult leukemia and cancers (eye, malignant brain tumors), which take years to surface. Physical dysfunctions like infertility begin to show.

Unfortunately, most research on wireless radiofrequency radiation and safety issues is financed by the wireless industry, which can be inaccurate and lopsided.

Radiation and microwave detectors can be used for measuring the amount of “harmful radiation” at home and workplace. Dr. Ben Kim suggests “Silver mesh curtains and copper flat paint can block significant amounts of radio frequency radiation.”

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Pylons linked to babies’ asthma: Hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and microwave also a risk, say scientists

Daily Mail, Aug. 1, 2011

Pregnant women who use hairdryers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners or who live near pylons could be putting their babies at risk of asthma, claim scientists.

They warn that exposing unborn children to potentially harmful magnetic energy produced by household appliances and power lines could treble their child’s chances of suffering from the condition.

Experts believe that the finding could partly explain why asthma rates in children have increased so dramatically in the last few decades.

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New studies reveal evidence that cell phone radiation damages DNA, brain, and sperm

Kurtzweil, May 24, 2011

New independent studies offer proof that confirms findings from the Council of Europe: pulsed digital signals from cell phones disrupt DNA, impair brain function, and lower sperm count, according to a statement by the Environmental Health Trust (EHT).

On May 23, a think-tank of experts organized by Gazi University and EHT convened at a workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, “Science Update: Cell Phones and Health,” to present the findings.

Prof. Nesrin Seyhan , WHO and NATO advisor and head and founder of the Biophysics Department and Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory at Gazi University in Ankara and founder of the Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (GNRP) Center, found that just four hours of exposure to RF-EMF disrupts the ability of human brain cells to repair damaged genes.

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Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism

JAMA, March 2011
Context The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain. However, whether acute cell phone exposure affects the human brain is unclear. Objective To evaluate if acute cell phone exposure affects brain glucose metabolism, a marker of brain activity.

Conclusions In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. This finding is of unknown clinical significance.
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