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The effects of cell phones and what can we do to increase safety

Davis explains that we know MW radiation effects do not follow the doses-effects response model; increasing the dose does not mean an increase response or effect follows. She thinks effects have more to do with the characteristics of the signal, which is erratic, and with chronic exposure. In her view, cell phone radiation disrupts “resonance” and “interferes” with body functions, such as DNA repair. Research needs to consider this if we are to have answers, she says. We know that MW radiation disrupts/relaxes the brain-blood barrier, which plays a crucial role in protecting our brains from substances that are in the blood and can be damaging or toxic. The brain-blood barrier develops as we grow. If we introduce a blue dye in the blood of an animal, its entire body will go blue but its brain will remain pink. Cell phone radiation relaxes this barrier reason why is used now to enhance the uptake of drugs into the brain, for instance to treat a brain tumor with medications. We also know that cell phone radiation interferes with DNA repair. And, we know that it penetrates further into tissue that is not protected by bone or density -breasts, chest, gonads, which are more vulnerable to its effects. (11)

Davis believes that current regulations are lax. The standard to estimate radiation exposure -the “standard anthropomorphic male” or SAM is not representative of the population exposed to cell phone radiation. SAM was taken from the top 10% of military recruits in 1989 -a six-foot-three 220 pounds male with an 11-pound head. Most people in the world do not have SAM’s head and we know that radiation goes more deeply into smaller heads than larger ones, and we know that today, three out of every four 12-year-olds, and half of all ten-year-olds, have a cell phone. It is too risky to wait for more science when we already know enough to be concerned. We should change regulations to make it safer for cell phone users and we should inform people about the risks and what they can do to be safe. (5)

There is also a strong concern about pregnant women and their babies because of what is known already about animal studies. It may be legal for companies to show advertisements of phones being used in ways that are not recommended, Davis says, but it is not ethical. Selling phones to people, then telling them in fine print to not use them next to the body while in all advertisements they are shown using cell phones exactly next to the body, it is a serious disconnect, and people need to be aware of this. Some countries around the world, including France, have banned companies from advertising cell phones to children due to the possible risks. (10)

Cordless phones are an issue too; they are dangerous but most of us are unaware. The base station of cordless phones radiates all the time; when we hold the handset to our head we get a huge dose. About a third of our exposure to MW radiation comes from cordless phones. Davis recommends we do not use cordless phones, and if we do avoid having the base station close to our bed or in our bedroom. (6)

Davis understands that cell phones are not going away. Her point is about increasing safety for people using cell phones and for companies to consider the safety of users when they make them. Experimental studies show that good nutrition like “literally exposing animals or cells to the natural hormone melatonin or vitamins A, E, or C before you expose them to RF radiation—may help repair damage.”  Good cell phone practices help. They include using a speaker-phone or a headset with the phone held a hand’s distance away, never keeping a phone turned on next to our body, or a wireless headset on in our ear or pocket, without turning off the phone. Also, we should use our phones only when signal quality is good, weaker signals boost MW radiation. And, we should text rather than talk on the phone, and teach our children to do the same. Tweens and teens, and the rest of us, should never sleep with cell phones on under our pillow or next to our beds. Pregnant women should keep their cell phones away from their abdomen; and, new mothers should protect babies from their phones. Men should keep their cell phones off when in their pockets; radiation affects their sperm quantity and quality. We should use a landline at home and avoid cordless phones too. We also need to do some political work and require warning labels about safety in using cell phones be applied to cell phones directly, not in manuals where nobody reads them. Also, cell phones should always include earpieces and speakerphones. And, major revisions of safety standards should be conducted, and specific recommendations should be made about lowering direct radiation to the head. Furthermore, a national survey of cell phone radiation exposure is needed, as well as monitoring of heavy cell phone users by creating access to cell phone billing records to qualified researchers, increasing the power of studies made. (5)

In 2015, Dr. Martin Blank (Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University) presented a letter signed by a scientists concerned with electromagnetic radiation and their effects on our health, particularly their impact on our DNA. Blank said:

We are really all part of a large biological experiment, without our informed consent. To protect our children, ourselves, and our ecosystem, we must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines. And so, today, scientists from around the world are submitting an Appeal to the United Nations, its member states and the World Health Organization, to provide leadership in dealing with this emerging public health crisis”. (12)

Cell phones may be here to stay; but, we can demand that they are safe. We, our children and grandchildren, deserve to be protected from the effects of cell phone radiation. We should challenge the callous disregard cell phone makers have shown for our health and well being. We know enough to make some needed changes, reducing exposure, and implementing appropriate safety guidelines. We know that corporations have vested interest and procrastinate addressing this issue, creating doubt about findings so things continue as they are.  This has happened before with tobacco, asbestos, insecticides and so on. We are challenging a more than a trillion dollar global industry. Change never happened without struggle. To act we need to be informed, please be informed.


1. The microwave menace is zapping us all warns writer Paul Brodeur, Interview, Jim Jerome, (January 30, 1978),

2. A history of microwave ovens. The popular appliance resulted by a chance discovery in the 1940s. Amanda Davies, May 2, 2016. The Institute,

3. From cataracts to cancer: the REAL dangers of microwave ovens and how to test if yours is leaking, August 17, 2016. Mia De Graaf, Daily Mail.

4. Five Major moments in cell phone history, CBC News, April 3, 2013,

5. The truth about cell phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family. Devra Davis, 2010. Dutton, Penguin Group, USA.

6. Green America, Devra Davis, 2011, Interview, by Tracy Fernandez Rysavy,


8. National Cancer Institute, Cell phones and Cancer Risk

9. MOBI-KIDS Report Summary, Spain.

10. Cell phone radiation Does harm your baby and may cause hyperactivity study says, Daily Mail, November 12, 2012.

11. Cell Phone Exposure, Toxicology and Epidemiology – An Update, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Dr. Devra Lee Davis, April 2012, transcript,

12. International Appeal Scientists call for Protection from Non-ionizing Electromagnetic Field Exposure, May 2015., Martin Blank,

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