Weizmann Institute of Science
"I try not to exceed a half hour or an hour a day," Seger says of his cellphone use. "Everything is a matter of dosage." He suggests keeping cellphones at least 12 inches from the body and using the speakerphone.
Founder and CEO of CANCERactive
Woollams uses his cell sparingly and puts it on speakerphone. His older kids -- aged 14, 23 and 26 -- "are encouraged to only text at most. I don't want them to carry the phone on their bodies when they are on."
Former coordinator of the WHO's Radiation and Environmental Health Unit
Repacholi owns two cellphones and says he has no concerns about using them. For those who do, he recommends using a hands-free kit, which can reduce exposure levels by a factor of between 10 and 100.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the International Epidemiology Institute
Boice makes approximately five cellphone calls a day. He uses a wired earpiece -- not for fear of EMFs but because "I'm getting older and don't hear so well anymore," he says.
Aberg removes her phone's battery when she visits patients. She advises against wireless phones and wireless computer connections at home because, she says, "you are exposed to EMFs all day and all night."
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology and head of Interphone
Cardis is not a heavy talker ("I have little time!") but says, "If consumers are worried about a possible risk, the use of hands-free kits or earpieces is a very good way to reduce exposure."
Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna
Kundi dials on a landline whenever available and suggests not using cellphones where reception is weak, because they boost their signal to maintain connectivity, thus increasing EMF exposure.
Opinions from the researchers, interviewed by Christopher Ketcham
“We really cannot say for certain what the adverse effects are in humans, but the indications are that there may be—and I use the words ‘may be’—very serious effects …The biggest concern about cellphones is the evidence coming out of studies in Northern Europe, where cellphones were invented and where they have been used for a longer period of time than in the U.S. These studies are pretty consistent in showing an increased risk of brain cancer and tumors of the auditory nerve in individuals who have used cellphones for more than 10 years, but only on the side of the head where the cellphone is used. Studies from Israel have also found tumors of the parotid gland, the salivary gland in the cheek, but again only on the side of the head where the cellphone is used.”
—David Carpenter is director of the Institute for Health and the Environment and founding dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany. He co-edited the 2008 Bioinitiative Report on cellphone risks.
“The Interphone study was initiated by the WHO agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, to have 16 case-control studies conducted in 13 countries to determine whether use of mobile phones is associated with head or neck cancers. Until the Interphone study results are published, the best indicator of the likely result is shown in the combined British and Nordic country study, which has over 60 percent of all the cases and controls that the full Interphone study has. In this study, they found little evidence of any head or neck cancers among people who have used their phones for less than 10 years ...It is not possible to make any conclusions at present about the risks of mobile phones for more than 10 years.”
—Michael Repacholi was coordinator for the Radiation and Environmental Health Unit at the World Health Organization from 1996 to 2006.
“When a nerve is stimulated—say, the optical nerve stimulated by light—all sorts of electrical activity goes on. The nervous system uses electrical fields to function. It would be expected that certain extraneous electromagnetic fields would affect the nervous system. If you apply a correctly tuned EM field, you’re going to affect nervous-system function, which is going to affect all sorts of functions and behaviors. Some of my research in the 1970s found that when you expose a frog’s heart to EM frequencies that were modulated just so, you can produce arrhythmias in those hearts and even stop the hearts. I also showed that EM frequencies could open the blood-brain barrier. This means that substances in the blood can leak into the highly stabilized systems in the brain.”
—Allan Frey is a neuroscientist formerly with the GE Advanced Electronics Center at Cornell University who conducted some of the first experiments showing the biological effects of radio-frequency radiation.
“In the 1940s, kids’ shoe shops were equipped with shoe-fitting machines that used strong x-rays, and wristwatches in the 1950s glowed in the dark because they were coated with radioactive paint. At the same time, scientists and doctors started to realize that the warm and beautiful sunshine actually can harm our cells and their DNA, leading to the development of skin cancer ...We don’t know what will happen when, 24 hours around the clock, we allow ourselves and our children to be whole-body irradiated by new, man-made electromagnetic fields for the rest of our lives. This question is more valid and important than ever, and it is up to our society, with its governments, parliaments and authorities, to answer it.”
—Olle Johansson is an associate professor at the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and has been investigating the health effects of man-made electromagnetic fields since the 1980s.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.