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  • In 2005, Ann Louise Gittleman was diagnosed with a benign tumor of the parotid, one of the salivary glands located just below the earlobe. Itfs a very rare tumor most often caused by ionizing radiation from x-rays, which she hadnft been exposed to. But, she had been addicted to her cell phone, and on it constantly, for years.

    In 2008, researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that individuals who kept their cell phone against one side of their head for several hours a day were 50 percent more likely to develop parotid tumors.

    Unfortunately, like most Americans, she was under the false assumption that cell phones and other household electronics were safe. Now, she knows better. And it is even more crucial to be aware of the danger to children.

    Paul J. Rosch, MD, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College and emeritus member of The Bioelectromagnetics Society says, "Children are more severely affected because their brains are developing and their skulls are thinner. A two-minute call can alter brain function in a child for an hour, which is why other countries ban or discourage mobile phone use under the age of 18."


    In fact, the very electronic and digital innovations that have made modern life more convenient and efficient are also exposing people to thousands of artificial electromagnetic frequencies and wavelengths never before experienced by human beings. There are simple ways to reduce exposure in the rooms where Americans spend the most time in-the bedroom, family room, and home office:

    Remove Wi-Fi and cordless phone chargers in the bedrooms
    Cordless phone chargers emit radio frequency power even when not in use. The pulsed digital signals are more damaging than the analog signals, and they should not be anywhere near the head of the bed. Baby monitors should not be placed closer than six feet to the crib.

    Walls do not stop magnetic fields
    The backs of refrigerators produce large electromagnetic fields which go through walls-so if a family room shares a wall with the refrigerator, the sofa should not be against that wall. It is also recommended to stay out of the kitchen when self-cleaning ovens are operating; these oven settings use very high wattage to burn debris off the oven walls.

    Don't cradle your laptop
    It may be called a laptop, but pregnant women especially should keep a good distance. Even before birth, children are exposed to electro-pollution in the womb. Since a fetus spends 40 weeks essentially floating in a sack of water (a well-known conductor of electricity), it is particularly vulnerable.

    Consumers need to be more aware. San Francisco became the first city in the nation to adopt an ordinance requiring retailers to inform consumers about the radiation levels of mobile phones at point of sale. This and similar measures should be implemented in every retail outlet selling mobile phones (and other electronics) throughout the country.

    Everyone's at risk when it comes to electro-pollution, the new invisible pollutant. It was once thought cigarettes, lead paint and tanning beds were safe. Electro-pollution has the potential of being even more deadly for people now, future generations and our planet.

  • Don't let dangerous radiation “cook” growing brains

    A startling Swedish study shows that young people are five times more likely to get brain tumors if they use a cell phone before they’re 20. Other research finds that a mobile phone call lasting just two minutes can produce brain hyperactivity that lasts an hour in kids.

    Even cordless phones emit dangerous radiation that can almost double heart rate variability and affect the autonomic nervous system, causing anxiety, blood pressure changes, fatigue, dizziness or fainting, and sleep disturbances, a new investigation in the European Journal of Oncology reports.

    Why Kids Are at Risk
    The problem is children’s brains absorb twice as much radiation from these phones as adult brains. Not only do youngsters have thinner skulls and smaller heads than adults, but their brains also continue developing during childhood and adolescence—only increasing their risk.

    With kids spending “significant time on mobile phones,” warns David Carpenter, MD, dean of SUNY’s School of Public Health, “we may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers.” In addition to brain tumors, research suggests cell phones can lead to hearing loss in kids.

    “As our knowledge stands right now, interaction with fertility, the immune capacity, shattering of DNA, or impaired learning and intelligence will be much more dangerous than the extra cases of cancer,” adds radiation researcher Kerry Crofton, PhD. A growing number of countries—but, unfortunately, not ours—either forbid or discourage mobile phones for anyone under 18.

    Testifying before Maine’s Health and Human Services Committee several months ago, Camilla Rees (coauthor of Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution) said, “It is possible society will look back on the unchecked proliferation of radiation-emitting cellular phones—as a crime against humanity.” But to date, only San Francisco requires retailers to post radiation information on mobile phones.

    What Parents Need to Know
    Parents appreciate cell phones because this technology allows them to reach their kids—and to be reached—in emergencies. In an ideal world, kids wouldn’t need mobile phones. But you’d never hear the end of it if your teen didn’t have one. Still, it’s important to remember that children aren’t just tiny versions of adults. Since you’re the parent, you get to set the rules!

    Would you let your child put his/her head in a microwave oven? Of course not! But what you may not know is that radiation from cell phones is comparable to the microwaves from your oven. These kinds of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) easily penetrate kids’ brains. EMFs can cause breaks in the blood-brain barrier, which is more permeable in kids.

    My latest book Zapped features an entire chapter on kids and cell phones—with ways to minimize their risks. For example, use speaker mode on all cell or cordless phones—and teach your kids do the same. Encourage them to text, rather than talk. And whenever possible, limit your children’s use of these phones only to emergencies.

    If you can, avoid baby monitors, which operate like cordless phones. If you need a monitor for peace of mind, look for a used, older version that’s wired instead of the newer models with the stubby half-inch antenna. Keep monitors and even night-lights at least six feet away from sleeping children.

    Resist the urge to cook with a baby on your hip. The kitchen is filled with EMF-producing appliances—particularly the microwave. Even frequent use of hair dryers, which emit magnetic fields, is more dangerous to children with their thinner skulls and smaller brains than it is to adults.

    Pregnant? Limit your own mobile phone and PDA use to protect your growing child. Rates of autism, ADHD, learning problems in children have soared while exposure to electropollution has increased. In a small but significant study, alternative physician Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, found that a pregnant woman’s body voltage, as well as the body voltage of children in their bedrooms, was a predictor of autism and other serious neurological disorders. And research links Mom’s cell phone use during pregnancy with her children’s behavioral problems later in school.

    In the same way that you protect your baby from other toxic exposure during pregnancy, it’s vital to limit exposure to electropollution, which can impact your child’s nervous system development—long before birth. Perhaps even more important, heavy-duty mobile phone use during pregnancy has been linked to risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

    A Growing Problem
    Approximately 277 million Americans use cell phones today. While independent research is rare in this country, multiple reports from Europe’s premier research institutions suggest growing risks at any age.

    Cell phones and PDAs are being linked to “brain aging” (early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and other brain damage), as well as DNA damage. Based on his research, Swedish neurosurgeon Leif Salford, MD, is concerned, “a whole generation of [cell-phone] users may suffer negative side effects in middle age.” A new study in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgerysuggests that EMFs may also have harmful effects on bone density, making it “better to keep mobile phones as far as possible from the body.”

    And it’s not just cell phones! Computers, electronic games, faulty wiring, power lines, and Wi-Fi are all putting kids at risk. Electropollution in schools may be interfering with kids’ education and possibly contributing to disruptive behaviors.

    A secret study in one Toronto school for children with learning disabilities, showed that students and teachers felt less frustrated, irritable, and tired when EMF-reducing filters were installed—without their knowledge. Some symptoms of ADD and ADHD also improved with filters.

    In fact, the results were so startling that “I thought I’d made a mistake,” says researcher Magda Havas, PhD. Instead of the two percent improvement she expected, 55 percent of students and teachers felt better. Even those who had complained before the filters were installed “were feeling incredibly good,” Dr. Havas adds.

    While it’s relatively easy to stick with or go back to wired technology at home, it’s getting harder to protect kids at school since every district and community now considers WiFi de rigueur. Some parents are starting to fight back, however. In one Chicago suburb, concerned parents filed suit against the Oak Park School District, claiming that exposure from wireless could cause their children neurological harm. In England, consumers, parents, and teachers have all called for suspending Wi-Fi in schools.

    The Cancer Connection
    Dr. Carpenter believes that up to 30 percent of childhood cancers stem from EMF exposure, and an increasing number of studies have shown damaging effects far below accepted safety levels for mobile phones and other sources of electropollution. For example, research finds when children live near magnetic fields 1,000 times lower than existing safe exposure limits, their risk for cancer increases.

    Living near power lines that produce EMFs has clearly been linked to leukemia in children. Research also finds increased tumor risks within 1200 feet of cell phone or radio towers—and more and more, these towers are popping up on church steeples and school roofs.

    Zap-Proof Foods and Supplements Defend your children and yourselves against invisible EMF assaults with nutrition. Eating one cup of blueberries a day is a good way to start. Prunes (or called dried plums now for PR purposes) contain unique antioxidants that fight free radicals from electropollution. Stuffed with an almond or walnut, prunes make a delicious snack that kids like as much as candy. Melatonin—the hormone that controls circadian rhythms in sleep and wake cycles—also protects against this kind of radiation. Tart cherries are rich in melatonin as well as other antioxidants.

    Also eat more cabbage family veggies—broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale—to boost the super antioxidant glutathione. Cabbages also contain caffeic acid, shown to reduce harmful effects from cell phone use.

    For added protection, enjoy a daily smoothie that contains one to two scoops of whey, rich in the antioxidant glutathione, a potent scavenger of free radicals that damage DNA. Choose pure, undenatured and unheated whey protein powder to preserve fragile amino acids and provide optimal immune support.

    Besides protecting bone health, vitamin D fights EMFs. Look for children’s multivitamins that contain calcitrol, the active form of vitamin D, to activate the immune response that mobile phone radiation tamps down.

    Start protecting your children today to ensure a safer tomorrow for them.