October is Breast Cancer awareness month and much is being reported in the media about the importance of regular checks and spotting the signs of early diagnosis of this disease. It is no secret that cancer is on the rise and one only has to see the increase in the number of celebrities battling cancer, as well as loved ones who are facing this daily, to understand early detection and prevention are critical. However, environmental risk factors, including RF radiation, are seldom discussed within preventive measures.
An article published in 2013 produced a case study of four women under the age of 40 who had contracted breast cancer. Although not uncommon, these cases encouraged investigation because the women did not have a family history of the disease, nor a genetic predisposition to it. This prompted medical professionals to look at environmental factors. All four women regularly carried their smartphones directly against their breasts in their brassieres for up to 10 hours a day, for several years, and developed tumours in areas of their breasts immediately underlying the phones*.This is only a small study group, however with the increase in our daily exposure to wireless devices and the users becoming younger in age it is worth educating ourselves to ensure that we are using this technology safely.
Prolonged exposure to microwave radiation from mobile phones causes an increase in brain and heart tumours, according to a recent study published by the United States National Toxicology Program (NTP). Although guidelines from government departments state that the levels of microwave radiation emitted from mobile phones are safe, many of these are based on data produced decades ago and are based on short-term, acute heating effects tested on a 200 pound male plastic model filled with salt liquid. Mobile devices were never tested on women, children, foetuses, the elderly or those with known health conditions.
Smartphones were only entering the market back then and we did not have the same exposure to 24 hour Wi-Fi, nor did our children have wireless devices like smartphones and tablets. The studies used to create the safety guidelines had not taken into consideration direct contact with skin, nor exposure from having your mobile phone on for more than 10 hours a day, nor the compounded dose effect of radiation coming from many devices, cell towers and routers at once. Not only is your phone pulsing radiation to search for a phone signal, but it is also constantly downloading data as well.
Wireless technology is still very new and whilst this technology has boomed over the last decade, international standards need to be updated to ensure that we are safe from long-term microwave radiation exposure. The safety guidelines we are currently using are largely out-of-date in our modern society, but these are still being used as standards for safety. However, as more research studies are being released, many companies and government agencies are erring on the side of caution. If you check your mobile phone manufacturer’s legal section, many recommend carrying your phone at least 10mm away from your body to remain under the safety guidelines.
TIPS for REDUCING YOUR MICROWAVE RADIATION EXPOSURE
* West, J. G., Kapoor, N. S., Liao, S.-Y., Chen, J. W., Bailey, L., & Nagourney, R. A. (2013). Multifocal Breast Cancer in Young Women with Prolonged Contact between Their Breasts and Their Cellular Phones. Case Reports in Medicine, 2013, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/354682
“Save the Girls” Image kindly provided by the Environmental Health Trust