Brain Expert Says Cell Phones May Be Deadly

Jerry and I were walking through the market some time last week when we noticed a little girl–probably three years old–toddling beside her mother and talking animatedly into a pink cell phone. Jerry and I smiled at each other and at the adorable child who was deep in conversation with someone…or perhaps with no one.

I’m unsettled about children and cell phones, about the necessity of the phones and about their safety. But a known problem in older people is that they may become “set in their ways,” have difficulty embracing change, and suffer frustration at advancement and changes in social mores. Acknowledging my 🙂 (slightly) advancing years, and being definitely of the mind that I do not want to be such a one–an aging person who fails to move with the times and who is lacking in progression–I persistently evaluate my comprehension and judgment in these arenas. (I understand, though, that if my perception has declined, I may be unaware of the deficiency, and thus, no matter how well intentioned, I may judge in error.) Having made this disclaimer, and knowing my thoughts may arise to a great extent because of my generational history, I want to talk about about children and cell phones.

Two of my small grandchildren own cellphones. Chloe is twelve–soon to be thirteen–and Nathaniel is eleven. Chloe has possessed a phone for several months now–maybe a year–and Nathaniel has owned one a few months. (Actually Nathaniel is not a cell phone owner at the moment, for he has misplaced his.) 😦 Rebecca gave much thought to providing Nathaniel with a phone, and did not quickly make the decision. Her reasoning for this encompasses safety and convenience. I have not talked much with Chloe’s parents about her having a phone, but suspect much the same rationale applies with them. I suspect the children involved view having their own phone as being fun, convenient, and as maybe a status indicator…I’m guessing about those reasons.

Over recent years, I have read reports that indicate cell phone use may be detrimental to our health, perhaps even to the extent of causing brain tumors and other brain damage. Today I read this report that was headlined as saying that “mobile phones are more dangerous than smoking.” I take such warnings with a “grain of salt,” and with a fair amount of skepticism. I’m not one to drastically curtail my intake of eggs or sugar or tap water or artificial sweeteners because of various studies, and Jerry and I concur that moderation in all these areas is indicated. Having said that, I believe this issue of possible damage by cell phones is something to be strongly considered. There are more than 3 billion cell phone users worldwide. Read the whole article, then I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Is this a bunch of phooey, or is there enough information that we should proceed with caution? You parents–do your children have their own cell phones? Why? Why not?

 Young people are at particular risk from exposure to radiation. From The Independent

Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take “immediate steps” to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Read the entire article here.

Dr. Manny comments on the subject here.

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My devotional blog is here.

19 thoughts on “Brain Expert Says Cell Phones May Be Deadly

  1. Mona

    well, i’m 21 yrs old and I had never used a cell phone until I was 18 years old. Once I got the phone, I was always on it. 20 days after I turned 19 I was diagnosed with a very rare brain tumor. I had surgey and had it removed, but I live with brain damage and school is so much harder now. I believe that there could be a link with cell phones and brain tumors….they are so common now just like cell phones are. I reccomend that everyone use the handfree headsets!!

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  2. sabine01

    Speaking as a brain tumor survivor: I had never owned a cell phone before my diagnosis. I now own one and have for some years now; I have not had recurrences during the time I’ve owned one.

    We’ll see what happens in the coming years, but
    research *really* goes back and forth on the matter of cell phones and cancer, and unless there’s consistency in the findings in those studies, I think I’m going to keep using my cell as I always have — moderately.

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  3. I think no one can really make a judegment on
    the longterm effects of cell phone use as it has yet to play out. Making fun of people who are geuinely concerned is kind of narrow minded and shows that you are incapable of allowing other’s their feeling and opinions, how sad.
    One thing is we can all conclude that we must make a decision (just like with anything we buy and consume etc.) wether it is worth it.
    I am one of those people who has no landline and I barely use my cell either.
    It is pretty much expected of people for their job and socially to have a cell.
    Let’s hope they don’t cause cancer.
    But I suspect like with everything, some will be
    affected and others not.
    Cells are not the only radiation to be aware of.
    As I type from my laptop that’s on my lap…I know that it too radiates and the wireless internet that it picks up.
    So I guess my point is, moderate use and consider the cancer risk (family history/your diet and consumption of cigs and other known cancer causing things) are all factors when considering your and your children’s cell phone use.

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  4. The wide-scale proliferation of cell phones is an attempt at population reduction. Brain cancer is deadly folks. The elites behind this scheme also own controlling shares in the pharmaceutical and medical corporations. They will profit handsomely during your suffering. I recommend that everyone reading this purchase the old style landline (non-wireless). The batteries emit cancer causing radiation.

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  5. I’m so thankful Redonia and Trent have cell phones. Of course they are grown now but when they began driving they were “in trouble” if away from the house without it. When I was 18 years old I moved from Alabama to Texas for college. My parents were unable to move me due to my father having brain cancer. I didn’t have a cell phone (long before they were popluar!) but was given quarters to call collect from a pay phone if needed. This was a 12 hour trip. I was young 80 lb girl in a 79 Ford Pinto alone. I have since thought what if I would have broken down on a stretch of the road not near a cell phone? My have times have changed! I think I prefer the benefits over the risks. It seems if we search hard enough everything is a risk.

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  6. My daughter is 8 and wants a phone. She hasn’t asked often. (She knows if she does she won’t get one. 🙂 But her daddy and I have been discussing what age we will get her a phone. Last year at church camp she was one of the only kids who did not a phone and I did miss being able to talk with her! Can you believe she went all week without calling her mommy!! She was 7!!!! I don’t think we are ready yet, but I can honestly see us giving in within a year or so.

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  7. True, there are many dangerous concerns with the use of a cell phone. However, safety concerns are the reasons that 2 of my 3 grandchildren have phones (i.e., ages 8 and 12). The mothers want peace of mind knowing that they can contact their children via one quick call, and vice versa.

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  8. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful (and sometimes humorous remarks.)

    In such a conversation as this, I think of Madame Curie, with whom all of you are no doubt familiar. She was born in 1867, and she and her husband did extensive work in radioactivity. At one point in her life she was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry, I believe.

    The sad thing is she died in 1934 from aplastic anemia, and it is thought it was caused from her careless handling of radioactive material. The damaging effects of such material were not known at that time.

    She even carried around test tubes of radio active isotopes, remarking about the pretty blue-green light it emitted.

    My point in rehearsing Madame Curie’s story is probably evident, so I won’t go more into it.

    As I said in my original post, I am not a particularly worrying type of person, and I certainly use cell phones.

    But I do think responsible studies should be given some attention.

    Love all your comments–especially yours Jay!

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  9. Esther

    In response to your question Sis. Buxton……
    There will always be people who come up with the dangers of technology. And not only technology……We can’t even have swings in parks because some kid may fall out of it. Or slides in some places because of the same thing. And, oh the thought of someone getting hit too hard from playing dodge ball. So, that’s gone now too. I do think it all comes down to what the bottom line has always been and still is: The parents need to train their kids to use things like cell-phones responsibly. Actually cell-phones are low on my list of things to worry about. The computers, play stations, videos, etc. worry me a lot more. Kids need to be outside making up games, not playing fighting games sitting in front of the computer or other device. My opinions.

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  10. Hi Sis. Buxton,

    My family has a rule, so far, that our kiddos don’t get a phone until they are old enough to afford it and to be responsible for it, i.e. get a job, buy their own phone and pay the monthly fees.

    To date we are still pretty old fashioned. My siblings figure that we all grew up without a phone and didn’t die from it, so their kids will probably be alright.:) I don’t have children but agree with their decisions. I figure so many people have a cell phone now days, if they need to borrow one they can. Or, if we are all together and need to split up to some extent, they can use one of ours. They are not on their own enough to really warrant the emergency use of a mobile phone, not to say that could never happen.

    Cell phones, as far as I am concerned, are a somewhat necessary convenience and many times a controlling one. =)

    My siblings are pretty strict overall in the amount of time the children spend on the computer also. I think my Brother and his wife only allow their boys computer games 4 hours a week. The rest of the time is outside play, music, etc. Kids need a life of creativity and imagination outside of the technological realm. Studies are beginning to show how technology stunts the growth of social skills and the ability of youth to interact positively in a face to face setting with other people. Text messaging is one of the worst. People try to resolve conflicts through text so they don’t have to resolve issues face to face, the whole idea is ridiculous and is simply a way to hide from taking responsibility for one’s actions. I wish you could see and experience some of the things we deal with as a result of this stuff at the college level. I never dreamed……

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  11. Jay Burns

    Ahh yes. I remember those early days of it’s development. There were cheers by some and jeers by others. Jeers by those who could only see it’s improvement in areas of cost and convenience. Others who could foresee the dangers the advent of the tin can would pose.

    Parents all over the world called for it’s immediate ban, knowing that with the tin can would come the eventual evolution of the game “kick the can” thereby causing an end to the age old favorite, “tag”. What could be so great about this tin can anyway, and what could it provide that “tag” couldn’t.

    In addition to the death of tag, these tin cans would also be a serious health hazard to children of all ages. The sharp edges on thes new cans could certainly cause a bleeder of magnificent proportions if not used with the greatest of care. And as we all know, young people are incapable of using caution for more than a few moments at a time. Our society simply couldn’t bear the added strain on our already over burdend health care system. Surely all these cuts would push the health care system to it’s demis.

    In addition to it’s obviously dangerous charactoristics the tin can would also change the landscape of the countries sexuality. This seemingly innocent tin can would be used by teen age boys who discovered that young ladies would be unable to resist the powers of tin can tabs tied together in a strand.

    For these reasons and a litany of others I would move that the tin can be banned forever as it is quite obviously a blight on society.

    P.s. I took my cell phone out of my pocket before I wrote this. Just incase. 🙂

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  12. In response to Helen – some of the phone companies are making it so easy by offering family plans and free phones. There is a company here that all calls are free if the call is to a phone with the same carrier. If you add another phone to your plan, you will usually get the phone free. However, I do agree that most kids are caught up in the techno age. I encourage my kids to play outside when the weather permits. I think sunshine is important to good health. Bryce saved his money and built his own basketball court (when he was 11 years old) in our backyard. It was money well spent because the kids play out there frequently. Kids stuck to video games are missing out on a lot of good life in the sun making memories.

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  13. Sis. Buxton:

    I have been following this suggestion of cell phones and brain damage for some time. The main scheme of thought is that there is not really enough energy released to harm the brain. Yet, we all know that strange things happen and can get blamed on or for stranger things.

    Now, for young people or youth and the cell phone craze. In the comics yesterday under, “Drabble,” we see everyone sitting at the dinner table. The whole family is present at the dinner table; mom and dad are just looking at each other as the rest of the family is busy, “text messing.”

    At what age should we allow our children to have and us cell phones? I believe it is a thing called “Prenatal discursion.” My sons used cell phone as a method to show or bestow a reward for grades, things getting done etc. BUT, only after a given age.

    My main point of anger or irritation with these little communication devices is to hear them ring during a religious service or a funeral or to see youth with there heads down. SORRY not in prayer but sending or receiving a text message during a religious service. I will not just be upset with the youth, but more than once I have gotten up from the alter and praying prior to the start of service as I was walking back to my seat. I looked down a row of seats and sew an adult (?) checking the messages on their communication device!!!

    Yes, I do have one.

    Mervi

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  14. I can’t imagine a child needing a cell phone. And we can’t even justify the cost for ourselves. People, do you really NEED a cell phone more than a dozen times a year? And a child, more than once?

    I don’t know about the brain-fry. But kids have too much technology too early. We are creating kids who don’t know how tp play without Ipods and game systems and DVD players. The phone is just one more thing.

    Things have changed, haven’t they Helen. Cell phones seem to be almost a necessity anymore, especially when traveling. Some people I know have disconnected their landlines, and use cell phones exclusively. Jerry and I have recently done that also, seeing how we are in Crestline so little.

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  15. Esther

    Interesting subject Sis. Buxton. Of my 10 young grandkids, Chloe and Noah have cell phones. (Of course Todd and Kyle have one but they are very responsible older grandkids). I know that Chloe very rarely uses hers. I’m glad she has one because when I can’t get Shawna on her phone I can usually reach her through Chloe’s phone. I do think that at Chloe’s and Noah’s age, the phones are a comfort for the mothers because of the many dangers out there now days. Noah usually loses his or runs out of minutes so he doesn’t use it much. But, again, I’m glad he has one. He can keep in touch with Mom when he needs to. Of course sometimes Jennifer probably wishes he did not have one because he calls from school wanting to come home early. Ha! That’s Noah. After saying all that, I dread the day when Analese gets a phone because at the new age of 3 she is constantly on her play phone, talking away to either Nana, Papa or some friend. I think the age group that uses phones too much is teens. They seem to not be able to function unless they are talking on their cell phones. You see them everywhere. And, talking while driving seems to be the cause of many near misses. Lets hear from someone else. By the way, I don’t believe the brain damage theory.

    Esther, I’m curious to hear why you don’t believe the brain damage studies.

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  16. dean

    Other than the obvious distraction of a cell phone in so many social settings, I worry that many are forgetting how to just “sit and talk”. Ever see two people in a nice restaurant, both on the phone nearly all the meal? Communicate people!!
    My wife was hurt very badly in a car wreck, because the other driver was watching the road, putting on makeup and talking on the cell phone.
    I find it amusing when my grand daughters carry around a small pink plastic play phone. So much of my life is on the phone also. How did we ever get along without them?

    In California now it is illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving. A good law, I think.

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  17. Our 21 year old son has a cell phone and is frequently scolded by his grandmother for using it too much. We have discussed the potential dangers with him. My 11 year old son has a phone but doesn’t use it regularly. It most often sits in his desk drawer until he needs it. Yesterday, he had an out-of-town chess tournament. That was a day that qualified to carry the phone. Regular days at home and school, the phone is left in the desk. The princess, who is only six, has already asked for her own phone. The answer was a loud “NO!” She has an old cell phone that doesn’t turn on and she walks around the house holding imaginary conversations. I can only imagine what it will be like when she is a teenager!!!

    “Our 21 year old son has a cell phone and is frequently scolded by his grandmother for using it too much.”

    I’m telling you, Jana, we grandmothers just can’t help ourselves.

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