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
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
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
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.