The group of 12 heading out on an Idaho Conservation League hike was introducing themselves when a father and son made an unusual request.
“We would appreciate it if you turned your cell phones to airplane mode, as we have a sensitivity to the radiation,” said Brad Walters, a retired aerospace engineer.
The Walters family had become sensitive to radiation emitted by smart meters, cell phones and other wireless technology while living in Huntington Beach, Calif., he explained.
And it’s affected them in a myriad of ways, including headaches, insomnia, ringing in the ears and joint pain. They had moved to Hailey because such radiation here measured 10,000 times less than their reading at their former home in California.
But even here they have steeled themselves against unwanted radiation by covering their windows with a special window film, wearing shielding clothing and homeschooling teenage son David so he’s not exposed to excess radiation in schools from wi-fi and virtual reality.
“We can’t even go to restaurants because all the customers are on cell phones, and more and more waitresses are taking orders on tablets,” said Brad Walters.
Growing concern over radiation from cell phones and other technology presented itself this past month in the Wood River Valley with the showing of the film “Generation Zapped,” which presents the potential health risks of prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields of radiation caused by wireless radiation.
And last week Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Devra Davis warned against radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.
Davis, an epidemiologist who has authored the “The Secret History of the War on Cancer,” created the Environmental Health Trust in 2007 to focus on that and other health concerns. She’s challenging major industries about the impact of their technology on our health and the environment, Aimee Christensen of the Sun Valley Institute told the audience.
Davis likened emerging concerns over cell phone radiation to the tobacco industry’s efforts to convince the American public that cigarettes were not harmful. The cell phone industry is using the tobacco’s industry’s playbook, “making it inconvenient to deal with the truth,” she said.
“I just returned from Paris where the government is recalling thousands of cell phones. Nine of 10 phones emit more radiation than they’re supposed to. They’re two-way microwave radios,” she said.
Studies not paid for by the industry are showing that cell phone and other wireless radiation can harm nervous, reproductive and immune systems, she said. Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic have found that sperm from men exposed to cell phone radiation die three more times quickly than sperm from men who are not exposed.
Doctors are diagnosing brain cancer in people who used old phones with one antenna inside—and today’s phones have multiple antennas inside. And European studies purport that people who used cell phones heavily for 10 years have double the risk of brain cancer and those who begin using them as teenagers have a four to five times higher risk.
Young women who store cell phones in their bras have developed unusual tumors right below the location of the antennas, Davis said.
Davis recalled the days when tobacco was marketed as a sign of emancipation, physical prowess and a way for women to keep slim. Movie stars were paid to smoke on screen and basketball stars paid to appear in newspaper ads, cigarette in hand.
Today, she said, children are learning to swipe before they can walk or talk, even though research showing children’s brains absorb twice the microwave radiation that adults do.
There’s a wireless pacifier to monitor a baby’ temperatures that connects to the mother’s Smartphone. Wi-fi enables Barbie dolls to talk with kids. A toy encases iPads in the doll’s face and tummy. There’s a wireless sensor that can be embedded in a diaper to let Mom and Dad know when it needs changing. There’s a tablet designed for children under age 3.
And, yes, there’s a potty seat with an iPad holder for babies who need something to read while learning toilet training.
The risks are highest for long-term and frequent users, as well as those under 18, said Davis. But there are ways to protect oneself against cell phone radiation:
- Don’t keep them in a pocket next to your body. Every millimeter they’re removed from your body results in 15 percent less exposure.
- Program them to automatically go to airplane mode when not using them.
- Restrict cell phone usage among those under 18—France has banned the sale of cell phones to children under 12 since 2008.
- Don’t allow children to use cell phones except in emergencies.
- Don’t hold a cell phone to your head. Use headphones, instead.
- Make only short, essential calls on your cell phone.
- Use a landline at home and in the office.
- Remove your cell phone from your bedroom while sleeping.
- Download movies you want to watch on your phone, then switch to airplane mode to watch it.
- Avoid making or taking calls while in cars, elevators and other places where the signal is hard to get because cell phones emit more radiation to get signals through metal.
- Turn off wi-fi at night when not in use.
- Use blue light eyewear when viewing screens. And don’t look at screens an hour before bed.
- Davis noted that health officials supposed to protect the public can be great foot draggers.
DID YOU KNOW?
After the Great Killer Fog of 1952 killed 12,000 London residents, Conservative Minister Harold MacMillan suggested the city form a committee: “We cannot do very much, but we can seem to be very busy–and that’s half the battle nowadays,” he said.
Reposted from Eye on Sun Valley.
Story by Karen Bossick.