Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

Are Cell Phones the New Cigarettes?

By Cam Mather

I read a great book last year by Devra Davis called “The Secret History of the War on Cancer.” It provided a good overview of what most of us already knew – that the tobacco industry funded research to discredit good science that had proven the link between cancer and cigarettes. One of the things I got out of it was that Hitler knew cigarettes caused lung cancer. He basically banned smoking. Few Germans smoked before World War I, but large numbers started in the trenches. Twenty years later there was a spike in lung cancer in males who had served in the war and lo and behold they made the link. So throughout the 50s and 60s and 70s as scientific data was building the case against cigarettes, big tobacco was muddying the water by producing data that was contradictory. This created enough doubt in many smokers’ minds, which allowed them to keep on smoking.

The data is now unequivocal but people still smoke. This is similar to the studies that big oil has funded over the years to dispute climate change. Come on big oil, have we not moved beyond this yet? What are they worrying about? Do they think their customers who live in the suburbs 50 miles from work are going to sell their cars and start cycling to work? Not gonna happen. In the meantime 9 million cars were sold in China last year. Relax; you’ve got customers for a while yet. Just stop the bad science nonsense.

The book also addressed the link between cell phone radiation and brain tumors. Davis noted that we know that the early adopters of cell phones, such as real estate agents, have a higher incidence of brain tumors. And for those who might want to believe that this is just a coincidence, the tumors always occur on the side of the head where the person holds their cell phone.

We have a cell phone but only use it when we go to the city and since this happens less and less often, we rarely use it. Now that it’s illegal in Ontario to drive and talk on the cell phone, I won’t even answer if I’m driving. These are good laws. I’m terrified of the damn thing. I finally learned how to text message which is now my preference.

Scientific American had an article recently where they looked at the studies that had been done on this link and said there basically doesn’t seem to be a link.

The first thing I’d want to find out is who is funding the studies? Are they being funded by entities that have a vested interested in high cell phone use? My other main concern is that we haven’t been using cell phones long enough to really know what the long-term effects will be. This was highlighted to me recently watching some early episodes of “The Sopranos.” I know they’re old episodes of the show because the opening credit montage has images of the NY World Trade Centre Twin Towers still standing, so they’re from 1999 and 2000. The characters in the show don’t use cell phones very often. Tony Soprano can always find a pay phone when he needs one. Have you tried to find a pay phone lately? When you do and enter your credit card information I think it costs about as much as the monthly charge for a cell phone.

So if there is a link, we won’t know until years from now. And it won’t help if cell phone companies start funding a lot of research skewing to distort reality.

This was all reinforced to me the other night in an item on the CBC news where Wendy Mesley interviewed Devra Davis. Davis has just published a new book called “Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family.”

I realize with any complex issue you need to look at all sides. But what makes sense about Devra’s message is her point that “if” there is a problem, which apparently there is a potential likelihood of, it won’t appear in large numbers for another decade or two. We’ve only started using cell phones in large number in the last 5 to 10 years. And good scientific studies take many years to properly gauge the effects.

Here’s another video with Devra Davis talking about cell phones;

With living off the grid our communication with the outside world is through a cell phone. But we use a unit called a “Tellular” which takes the cell signal and converts it to work like a regular phone throughout the house and guesthouse. So when I pick up the phone I hear a dial tone. When I dial the Tellular converts it back to a cell phone call. I then have a power booster, which makes the signal stronger and then goes up an antenna to a yagi antenna that we have pointed at the closest cellphone tower. So the radiation goes up the tower and out the antenna. It’s not pointed at my brain.

Fewer and fewer people have home phones anymore, so they just use their cell phones. So they use them more often and for longer periods of time. And of course, younger kids now get them from their parents for security reasons. I have a friend who’s an engineer who worked in the radio communications of a large phone company and he was concerned about the electromagnetic radiation. And not just from cell phones, but from cordless phones. He never used a cordless phone, only a regular phone connected directly to the phone line. And as people want to wander farther and farther in their homes they have boosted these units from megahertz to gigahertz. And as people want their cell phones to have more computing power than the NASA computers that put a man on the moon and to be able to watch live high-definition video on demand on their 2 inch cell phone screens, surely the phone networks of the future will have to boost the horse power of these babies and hence how much EMF radiation they give off.

I did everything I could to protect my daughters when they were babies and children. I’d happily give up a kidney or any number of organs for them. I just wish I could convince them to get a landline and give up their cell phones. Yea, that and leave the city and move back to the farm and help me spread manure and pull weeds. I won’t hold my breath.

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  1. Yep – no cordless phones here and only rarely use my cell phone for an actual call – I text maybe once or twice a day at most.

  2. Larry

    Is there not EMF radiation everywhere even if the phone is not up to your ear? I can pick up 5 different wi-fi signals from my house.

  3. isaac

    “Is there not EMF radiation everywhere even if the phone is not up to your ear? I can pick up 5 different wi-fi signals from my house.”

    The amount of radiation exposure is inversely proportional to the (square of) distance from the source, but yes, we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation from natural (all visible light is part of the em spectrum – same goes for inferred) and artificial sources.

    The trouble with proving that cell phones cause cancer is that they emit only non-ionizing radiation which is incapable of directly damaging DNA. (mutations which can lead to cancer) If non-ionizing radiation causes problems, the mechanism of action is not known; I think that governments always take the side of business in the absence of irrefutable evidence. (innocent until proven guilty)

    See – everything to the left of visible is non-ionizing.

  4. Henry

    I just saw this nice video that demonstrate exactly that:

    Nice music.


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