Senate Hearing On Brain Cancer Risks From Cell Phone Use Nears As New Study Is Released


Senator Ted Kennedy’s brain cancer could have been prevented if he had not used his cell phone so much. At least that is the argument being raised by health advocates who released a new study that concludes that too much cell phone use could lead to brain cancer.

The study, “Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone” was released by the International EMF Collaborative this week to counter another study funded by cell phone industry giants (The Interphone study), which minimizes the risk of cell phone use.

The International EMF Collaborative claims that the Interphone study, which begun in 1999, was “intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a ‘systemic-skew’, greatly underestimating brain tumor risk.”

The EMF Collaborative’s study is not the first to show that cell phones can increase the risk of brain cancer. The Dutch Health Council in Sweden released a similar report in 2006. But the EMF’s study has been the only one so far that has been received dozens of endorsements from doctors, scientists, and experts from the US and Europe. According to Public News Service, one of the authors of the study, Lloyd Morgan, a retired electronics engineer from Berkeley who developed a brain tumor in 1995, says that his doctor told him that his tumor was probably caused by his work around electromagnetic fields.

“Bottom line is, cell phones are causing brain tumors. If you look at the independent research, it’s absolutely clear. If you look at the telecom industry-funded research, it’s spun such that it would appear that there are no risks,” Morgan told PNS.

Advocates like Morgan have found that the cell phone industry-funded study has many flaws:

The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones,) as ‘unexposed’; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.

The International EMF Collaborative, which is made up of Powerwatch and the EM Radiation Research Trust in the UK, and the EMR Policy Institute, and The Peoples Initiative Foundation in the US, found that:

  • There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use;
  • Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors, and;
  • Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors.
  • The study also points out that cell phone manufacturers already warn consumers to keep their cell phones away from their bodies even when they are turned off. But advocates are concerned that consumers are not following the warnings. And, don’t think that using a Bluetooth headset is going to prevent the risk of brain tumors — according to the study even those devices use electromagnetic signals.

    There has already been testimony to Congress from people who have lost loved ones to brain cancer on the dangers of cell phone use. Senator Arlen Specter who was diagnosed with brain cancer back in 1993 is pushing for Senate hearings on the matter in September. Several experts are expected to testify at the hearing.

    Advocates argue that there are ways consumers can protect themselves from the electromagnetic fields produced by cell phones, but that the government needs to step in and take action.

    To download the report, click here.

    For a CNET article on the EMF report, click here.


    14 Responses to Senate Hearing On Brain Cancer Risks From Cell Phone Use Nears As New Study Is Released

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Gandolph
      August 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

      I’m a physicist and I just wrote a blog about cell phone and microwave radiation. Please check it out

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1JWKessler
      August 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm

      “And, don’t think that using a Bluetooth headset is going to prevent the risk of brain tumors — according to the study even those devices use electromagnetic signals.”

      In bold no less! They my both be RF devices but there is quite a difference in the power put out by a cell phone (0.75 to 1 watt for a typical handheld phone) and the power put out by a Bluetooth headset. I think that statement without specifically testing bluetooth devices is irresponsible. If using a Bluetooth headset could reduce the the problem that should be encouraged, not added to the boogyman list.

      • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1HeatherSW
        August 31, 2009 at 12:52 pm

        Hate to burst your bubble.. but headsets are just as bad (if not worse) unless you are using an air-tube device.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1DCX2
        September 1, 2009 at 2:19 pm

        Uhm, maybe the cell phones that people used 10 years ago put out up to 1 watt, but the vast majority of the phones today are limited to 1/8 of a watt peak power.

        By the way, your cell phone’s radiation has a wavelength of a few centimeters, and 1/8 of a watt. That incandescent light bulb in your home emits radiation with a wavelength of a few hundred nanometers, about 100,000 times smaller than the cell phone’s. Oh yeah, and it’s 100 watts, almost 1,000 times stronger.

        Worrying about cell phone radiation is like worrying that a breeze will blow your house off the foundation because it causes the curtains to billow.

        • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Pat
          September 2, 2009 at 5:40 am

          “Worrying about cell phone radiation is like worrying that a breeze will blow your house off the foundation because it causes the curtains to billow.”

          This is a poor analogy. Our bodies are not made of stone or wood. Visible light is essential to our functioning, but pulsed, it can cause vulnerable individuals to have epileptic fits.

          The cell phone radiation in question here is not part of the natural radiation our bodies evolved to handle. Furthermore, when it is pulsed, vulnerable individuals find it particularly debilitating.

          Living organisms operate by complex chemical and electrical processes that science is only beginning to understand. Wave phenomena (of which electromagnetic fields are one example) are complex and difficult to understand for anyone who hasn’t studied that field of physics. Your house’s windows might hold up against a gale that threatens the very foundations but be broken by the rumble of a distant truck’s engine. Similarly, a bright light might only cause you to blink, but much weaker radiation at a different frequency or modulation could cause subtle problems with disastrous outcomes.

    3. Vote -1 Vote +1Marcia Brady
      August 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm

      I’m no advocate of cell phones. In fact, I have never owned one and find them to be more annoying and distracting than their usefulness warrants. However, given the nearly universal prevalence of cell phones in our society (and around the world), wouldn’t you expect to see a massive rise in the number of brain cancer patients over the last 10 years if there was some cause-and-effect relationship? I haven’t seen the numbers, but surely there would be someone noticing if there were a tenfold (or whatever) increase in the number of brain cancer patients in the last decade.

      • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
        August 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

        Actually, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease did increase 10 fold from the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s as microwave ovens became commonplace. It then leveled off until the mid 1990’s, when it started going up again. Most recently it was up 5% per year after correcting for population aging. Parkinson’s is going up at the same rate. It is still controversial whether tumor rates have gone up, but remember neurons don’t grow fast, so brain tumors can take 30 or 40 years to show up (like after intense X-ray exposure). I’ve gotten rid of my phone but in 30 years I may reconsider….

    4. Vote -1 Vote +1topsum
      August 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm

      If Senator Ted Kennedy know the skill of reduce of the radiation, he may not developing cancer.
      In my blog there is a article about reduce the radiation of mobile phones.

    5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1pjamala
      August 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      Both cell phones and Wi-Fi operate on microwave frequencies. Microwave frequencies cause water molecules to vibrate (and if the microwave is strong enough, to vibrate to the boiling point.) People are mostly water. Why is anyone surprised that exposing people to microwave radiation is not good for people? Good website;

    6. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Noah's Ark
      August 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

      Well think of this…. Texting may be healthier?

    7. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1ken
      August 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

      Lord knows we need to waste more time and energy and money on cell phones causing brain cancer then finding a cure .Lets all remember cures do not build hospitals but treatments do.
      P.S my wife has brain cancer and had never touched a cell phone before being DX. in 2003

    8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1BEar
      August 31, 2009 at 8:43 am

      I can tell you first hand as to what a cellphone can do to a person who uses one too much. I have been disabled for the last ten years from my use of a cellphone from 1998 to 1999 ,and it has been determined that I had suffered a trumatic brain injury.
      But the Dr.s refuse to state that it was from my use of a cellphone though I know beyound doubt that it was.I also have damage of the nerves in my right thigh from keeping the phone in a pocket and while it rested on the seat while I talked on it several hours a day.
      I still suffer from many of the symptoms of a TBI and it still affects my everyday life, I live with the fear I may still develope brain cancer, I pray that the world wakes up and smells the coffee on this very scary issue way to many lives are at risk.

    9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ellie
      August 31, 2009 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you for printing the truth. My husband had a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant glioma a week before Senator Kennedy.
      He used a cell phone for 20 years and the tumor is on the same side of his head to which he held the phone. I testified to congress last September and will be in DC for this. The cell phone industry knows- this is tobacco all over again. I now know so many people with brain tumors that know it was their cell phone. We must stop this madness.

    10. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1DCX2
      September 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm

      If RF energy causes brain tumors, then I’m sure there’s a lot of people who had RF ablation done to remove things like liver tumors who might want to get together and think about filing a class-action lawsuit. Oh, and you know who else should get in on it? All the RF engineers who should be dropping dead from working on antennas that are putting out hundreds of kilowatts. And the real evil here is General Electric! All those light bulbs that we use to create visible light in our homes are emitting radiation with 1,000 times more wattage and 100,000 times smaller than the stuff coming from your cell phone!

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