The terrifying truth about phones and wireless radiation by Dr. Devra Davis


The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation: what
we know, what we need to find out and what we can do now. good evening ladies and gentlemen my
name is Eva Muriel’s I’m the Dean of engineering here at University of
Melbourne it’s real pleasure to welcome you here to the last Dean’s lecture of
the year today’s lecture sponsored across the Faculty of science faculty of
medicine and Faculty of engineering because of its topic let me first start
with acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the event is
taking place that is the land of the ordinary people and we pay respect to
their elders their families past and present so thank you for attending
tonight and given the topic may I just remind everybody that may be better to
switch off your mobile phone whilst we in this lecture you can switch it back
on afterwards just right I also like to remind people that tonight we are
videotaping and so when you’re asked questions you’re automatically going to
be recorded and we’ll take your asking question as also a form of prevent
presenting consent with being videotaped and audio taped let me just introduce
dr. Deborah Davis who doesn’t probably need an awful lot of introduction the
dr. Deborah Davis is a visiting professor of medicine at the Hebrew
University Hadassah medical school and also in Turkey at on Dooku’s Maya’s
University she’s an expert studying doctor magnetic radiation of her mobile
phones and wireless transmitting devices at present she was the founding director
of the center for environmental oncology which was the first such Center in the
world and was established the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and he
was linking looking at the environmental factors that contribute to cancers in
2007 she founded a nonprofit environmental health trust to provide
basic research and education about environmental impact on health hazard
she served as President Clinton’s appointee on the Chemical Safety and
hazard Investigation Board in it states from 94 to 99 there was an
independent executive branch of the government that investigated all the
effects of chemical accidents and how to prevent and mitigate against them
she was also senior advisor to the assistant secretary for health in the
Department of Health and Human Services in the United States and as such has
counseled many leading officials in the United States United Nations World Bank
European environmental agency the pan-american Health Organization and the
World Bank she holds a Bachelor of Science in
psychology the Master of Arts in sociology she has a PhD in science from
University of Chicago and she has a Master of Public Health in epidemiology
from the John Hopkins University she has also smore than 200 publications
and she’s been published in Lancet and the Journal of American Medical
Association’s which are some of the top journals in the field of medical
research and she of course has publications in Scientific American and
the New York Times every day you’re very pleased to listen to the mobile phone
and wireless radiation all yours thank you very much Dean mario’s I’m
honored to be here it’s a privilege to see so many of you I must say I’m
thrilled to be at this great university which has a tradition of open and
democratic discussion and I look forward to having a frank and full conversation
as we say in the diplomatic world because the issue I’m going to talk with
you about is there isn’t one truth of course truth is a relative term at one
point the truth was the world was flat when we talk about truth in science of
course it’s always relative but there are now more than 6 billion cell phones
in the world today eight billion wireless transmitting devices more than
50 billion are anticipated to form the Internet of Things and we have to
recognize that we don’t know a lot about the public health and environmental
effects of this form of radiation you have briefly you’ve mentioned some of my
career I won’t go through this in any great detail but I would say to you that
probably the most important thing I did and I see many people in this room
aren’t even old enough to remember it but long time ago you used to have smoke
on airplanes people could smoke tobacco on airplanes and I was involved as a
young scientist in the committee that actually reviewed the data and
recommended that there be no smoking on airplanes you may be shocked to hear
that it was even a question for science at the time but it was and when I look
at what we know now about mobile phone radiation I see some very interesting
similarities because there were a lot of questions that were raised about the
safety of tobacco on airplanes and they were in fact legitimate questions things
we did not know there are a lot of important questions to be asked about
mobile phone radiation today without any doubt but the reality is we’re not
asking those questions and with the exception of some researchers here and
elsewhere very little new research is being done in this field so it’s a
thrill to be here because Australia has been a leader in research in the field
of Electrical Engineering and it’s applications to medicine doing some of
the most exciting work in the world and funded by institutions around the world
including the US Department of Defense and I’ve worked at some of the
institutions in the world in science and so when I first thought there could be
something wrong with mobile phones I actually owned three phones at the time
I own two now and I everybody has to downsize a bit and I didn’t believe
there was a problem and I thought if there were a problem I would know about
it because of course I knew all about was important in science well I was
wrong I liked the fact that I could call people or actually send them messages
and expect an answer at all hours of the day and found it kind of fun in the
beginning and when somebody said to me there could be a problem with this with
our health I said oh don’t be ridiculous if there was a problem I’d know about it
well I was wrong and what I now know is that information is being sent to people
routinely to give them safety information I’m going to ask you to help
me out here by looking at how many of you have an
iPhone now I assume you didn’t all turn them off so for those you have an iPhone
would you not raise your hand again I’d like you to share with your
colleagues so please go to the settings on your phone right please take a moment
and nod when you’ve got there all right and be prepared to share
alright go to settings on the phone got there alright now get to settings now go
to about I’m sorry you have to go to general first there’s a mistake here I
have to go to general alright under general under settings then go to about
which is at the top you got there about yes ok now you have to scroll all the
way down to something you don’t normally see called legal you got to legal all
right now click on RF exposure now you can read it later but it’s basically
telling you that you need to know that you can not keep the phone directly next
to your body without exceeding the as-tested exposure guidelines and by the
way the iPhone does it I happen to know how to find it on the iPhone I’m just
learning the Android system myself but all smartphones come with some
information that basically says don’t keep the phone in your pocket or you
will exceed the as-tested exposure guidelines now how many of you knew that
before today well this is a very well informed audience relative to others
I want to thank Telstra because they actually are now giving people this
information and by the way they’re one of the first telecom companies in the
world to do this so I actually think it’s a good thing they’re sending this
message how many of you have seen it how many of you have actually looked at what
it said well here’s what it says this is what it says and like most of you I
found messages like this annoying but the reality is Telstra is telling you to
use a hands-free device to keep a mobile phone away from the head and body to
reduce mobile phone exposure so that’s a good thing but on the other hand I think
that we all need to do better to give people information so that you have
knowledge about how to reduce exposure and I’m going to explain to you why we
need to reduce exposure go back to almost 20 years ago when
standards for cell phones were first set up at that time it was believed that the
only thing you had to worry about was avoiding heat that was the only effect
you had to be concerned about and so they employed the head of a very large
person a 220-pound male who was at the top 98 percentile of military recruits
in 1989 the United States and they set the standards to avoid heating up that
fellow’s brain after a six-minute phone call now there’s probably one or two
people in this room with a head that size but the rest of you like most of
the world have much smaller heads and relatively smaller bodies and this
standard which is very much out of date doesn’t take into account the fact that
people the size of these two bright young people here in the front row are
using these devices today with no thought that maybe they’re getting
exposed to levels of radiation that have not been evaluated for their safety in
young developing brains now the electromagnet spectrum this is
information from ARPANSA actually goes all the way from the
invisible to the visible ionizing radiation gamma rays x-rays over here
and light here this is from our pond so you’ll see here they say FM radio
microwave oven radiant heat of course microwave oven actually happens to be of
the same frequency as the cell phone the mobile phone a mobile phone and the
microwave oven use a very similar frequency the difference between them is
power the power of the microwave oven is a
thousand watts and of course that’s power that can heat up a cup of water in
maybe 60 seconds the microwave oven the mobile phone the cordless phone the
Wi-Fi monitor the baby monitor they all use the same frequency they differ in
power they also differ because mobile phones
and Wi-Fi devices emit pulsed microwave radiation it’s the pulse not the power
that appears to be biologically most important the pulse that is erratic and
irregular like for thousands of minutes a month for dozens of hours a week over
a lifetime that irregular pulsed signal may be much more biologically important
and in fact the continuous wave signals have a lot of therapeutic effects as are
being applied in medicine today this visualization from my colleague at the
University of Athens shows you the variation in frequency in amplitude in
pulse all of these variables influence the properties a signal have and how it
can affect a biological system this is just to show you what happens in a
four-second mobile phone call this is power density power density indicated
here and of course a phone is on standby it’s not doing too much but 900 times a
minute it’s looking to for a signal it says to the tower where are you here I
am where are you here I am it’s smart that’s how it’s supposed to do now when
the phone rings the worst time for you to put a phone right next to your head
is when you answer it and say hello because it’s smart and it goes to max
power they’re programmed to do that max power now it’s going to go to max power
you’re going to listen and then it will go up and down and up and down and again
it’s that variation it’s the Delta it’s the cumulative integrative dose under
the curve over a lifetime exposure that looks to be biologically important now
exposure is the kind of funny thing there’s a rather widely distributed
paper by Ken Foster and CK Cho that said that the exposure of an adult and the
exposure of a is identical and therefore there’s no
real difference in how the radiation might be affecting them well let me
explain something by showing off my daughter and my granddaughter my
granddaughter is a very light-skinned red hair blue-eyed child her skin is
very sensitive my daughter is darker haired like I am
if they have sunscreen on they still will get a different dose of ultraviolet
light even though they have the same exposure because the exposure may be
uniform but the amount they will absorb differs because the properties of the
skin the property of the eye the thinness of the skin and a number of
other variables and those same things are relevant when it comes to thinking
about cellphone radiation now way back in the Dark Ages when the standards were
developed two dimensional modeling showed that children and smaller adults
might absorb more radiation than larger adults and this was scalar modelling
that has now been superseded done by ohm Gandhi in 1996 interestingly and this is
why I’m really delighted to be here Dean when he did this work in 1996 he was
working with support from Motorola and the Department of Defense and after he
published this he lost all his funding that’s why I’m really happy when you
told me that Australia is not America because I think you have an opportunity
to do something here in this great country you have a tradition of
Independence in science and in this country that we do not have
unfortunately on this issue in the United States so professor Gandhi with
whom I’m collaborating now updated his work in 2002 here showing you that a
smaller adult head here you see the amount of exposure is this is quite
similar but because the head is smaller it will
absorb proportionally more Mork recently we have been working with colleagues at
porto alegre with environmental health trusts and we have developed
three-dimensional modeling with anatomically based models using MRI to
create the models with one millimetre voxels and what we have done is to show
the difference in radiation dose in heads of different ages and sizes and
I’ll just show you one example here coming from our Qualys at the swiss
national institute of technology the IT is which are have produced some of the
most brilliant work in the world in this field and they have shown here of course
that there is going to be greater exposure absorption into a younger head
versus an older head this is another item from their website of target tissue
dose for the infant with using a system called the virtual family is there
anyone here who’s worked on the virtual family right it’s it’s a really powerful
and very sophisticated system that is used today to set standards for medical
devices and surgical procedures but it’s not used for mobile phone standards I
find that odd and I want to show you an example of some of the work that we are
doing now that I’m releasing here for the first time and this is a model
microwave radiation dose of a six-year-old with greater levels to the
frontal and temporal lobes eyes and cheek and watch this here now yellow
white and red are the hottest alright and if you look carefully you will see
it’s going into the eye the nose do it again just so you’ll get to see it and
partly into the brainstem now that’s just showing you that there’s going to
be some exposure into that area of a young head it doesn’t tell you that
there’s any biological effect right now the next slide is going to show you
something that might be of interest to students and faculty here and that has
to do with exposure to the reproductive organs we call them the gonads I think
you say the testicles and bone marrow and look here at the radiation as it
gets into the groin area and that’s just from having a mobile phone modeled into
the pocket and this again is based on normalized Saar with a dipole antenna
and there are many different variables you can alter in coming up with this
kind of simulation right the number of antenna whether it’s gsm cdma whether
it’s simultaneously operating only one antenna or more than one but we believe
that this is the kind of work that needs to be done and that this institution
might be in a position to do it and my colleagues from brazil would be happy to
share with you the modeling that we have done to date to generate this but based
on this work and other studies that have been done around the world the United
States magazine Consumer Reports recently recommended that nobody keep a
phone in their pocket nobody and in fact if phones were tested in pockets they
would exceed the as tested exposure guidelines which is why telstra has
recently issued that advice now when it comes to pregnancy we’re working with
Yale University and more than a hundred physicians and experts in the United
States and around the world who are specialists in pregnancy and we have
been modeling exposure to the head at the end of pregnancy and at the end of
pregnancy when of course the head is any woman here knows is right at the surface
if you’re lucky it’s at the surface and it’s not facing the spine then you can
get the greatest exposure because of course the skin is completely permeable
to this radiation exposure and that’s why we’ve developed the baby safe
project with colleagues at Yale to advise
pregnant women to protect their abdomens from mobile phone radiation as well as
from iPads which I should add iPads and other devices are called tablets because
they belong on tables they are tested 20 centimeters away from that big guy that
I showed you before 20 centimeters away they are not approved to be held in the
laps of little children although millions of kids are having them now in
schools because the people involved in educational technology and those
involved in public health research are not talking to one another because if
they were they would understand that you’re giving children a two-way
microwave radiating device and if you must give them such a device for
learning purposes put it on airplane mode so that it’s not sending and
receiving signals as it does otherwise now this is some new modeling again that
we’ve developed with colleagues in Brazil and we can share with you how
we’ve done it it’s we first start out with the MRI and create the model with
one millimetre voxels and this is quite a bit of work goes into creating this
and here is what it looks like after a period of six minutes and that’s really
not as bad as it might look because you see the red area only gets partway
through the eye of the adult right the one that we’re really concerned
about is this one with the young child and this is a three year old brain that
we modelled and you see that by the end of that six minute call the peak
radiation yellow and red is is getting all the way into almost both eyes and
again this is one call and it’s not gonna kill anybody
and may not cause any biological effect whatsoever for one call or two calls or
three calls but the question is what’s the cumulative impact of this kind of
exposure how do we evaluate it how do we study
the problem we face is that right now we’re in the midst of an experiment on
my grandchildren and your children and we don’t have anybody to compare them
with we don’t have a control group in science when you are given a drug it’s
usually been studied where some people get the drug and some people don’t get
the drug and they’re called the controls and then you see whether or not those
who got the drug are healthier than those who did not and when you get
results you can conclude if there is a difference between the exposed and the
control group that your drug has worked well when it comes to mobile phone
radiation we’ve lost our ability to have a true control group
even now with young children more than half of young children today have access
to these devices and I read this morning in the age that something like 13% of
children aged 2 can order their own apps I mean III can’t I find it hard to
imagine how a parent would give a child age to a device which was allowing them
to order their own app so where are we with respect to research on infants
toddlers and young children and pregnancy
well there’s almost no research underway which again is why I’m delighted to be
here to talk with you about what could be developed believe it or not this is
the I potty now it’s not a joke I have actually talked to grandmothers I’m one
of them my grandchildren did not have an iPod II I promise you
their father sometimes acts like he did a lot of people today take devices into
the bathroom all the time but there are actually young children who will not go
to the potty without their iPad does anybody know anybody like that any kids
yes it’s that amazing and nobody’s even thinking about about this as what it
might mean for for radiation exposure and parent magazine called the iPad the
best babysitter I mean if you need an iPad for a babysitter you need to
rethink having children I understand I understand giving cranky children
something to distract them on a long car trip but please put her on airplane mode
don’t think that you’re doing something good for your child if you hand them a
device and it’s a two-way microwave radio now I want to show you something
that you may find hard to believe but of course anybody who’s been around babies
lately knows that this is what they do with anything you give them that’s how
they learn things they put them in their mouth but this is something that you
have to watch to believe it NATO may be familiar to some of you and
NATO for years has supported research on radar radar of course gave birth to the
microwave oven how many of you know that okay the first microwave oven was called
a radar range the guys figured out that they could cook things with radar and
they thought it was pretty cool they actually discovered it because when
guys would be standing on the deck and it was cold at night they would warm
themselves in front of the radar and if they had chocolate in their pocket it
would melt so that’s how they decided to figure out what would happen if you
beamed radar at things like hot dogs and corn and soon enough that gave birth to
the radar range but women didn’t like the idea of
cooking with radar guys thought it was pretty cool so they reach in deled the
name to microwave it sounded dainty and more palpable and nowadays a microwave
oven is a staple around the world experimental studies have been supported
by NATO on radar for years and one of the laboratories they’ve supported is
that of Professor Nazrin sahan and her colleagues and the Environmental Health
Trust convened an international conference with her laboratory partners
and the Ministry of Health of Turkey in 2011 and I want to show you briefly some
of the work that that developed from that laboratory this is showing you
cellular damage that occurred in animals that were prenatally exposed to mobile
phone radiation that was produced by a computer simulating the mobile phone
exposure under controlled conditions right so because you can’t really get
rats to make phone calls you’ve got a model the exposure and what they did is
they then they measured in these are your controls that you compare things
with and these were the exposed prenatally exposed just to 15 minutes a
day for seven days not much exposure but these are small animals and
they grow within three weeks they produce and what they were able to study
was changes in liver melon aldehyde which is a measure of peroxidation is
the measure of damage to the liver right so these animals basically had
significant damage to their liver if they had been exposed prenatally
compared to controls now another group in Turkey has looked at prenatal effects
on the brain and the testes and you know a lot of countries this is a very
important research that has been done here and they looked at counting the
number of cells in certain areas of the brain the hippocampus which is a
critically important part of the brain and since I see there’s a lot of
non-expert here and let me just explain that your hippocampus is pretty
important to things like memory balance things like that so studying effects on
the hippocampus in animals is kind of a good way to anticipate effects that
might develop on intelligence and and other things and he looked at newborn
rats after they had been exposed prenatally and compared those who were
exposed to those who were not exposed and they looked at their brain cells
the number of cells shape etc with established methods for testing this and
this article was published in brain research which is a relatively high
impact Journal and what they showed was that prenatally exposed newborns have
basically fewer cells in the hippocampus here’s the exposed missings themselves
and here are the controls which they’re compared with and you can see here that
these cells are there’s more of them here they’re more scattered and in fact
they did another test of memory now how do you test memory in an animal you
don’t have them fill out the crossword puzzle you test memory in an animal with
well-established protocols of learning you teach them to run a maze and get a
food reward and you see how long it takes them to do that and what they did
is a radial arm maze they trained these and
who were starving to get a food reward right and after they did that they then
saw how long did it take them to learn this if they had been prenatally exposed
to mobile phone radiation and what they found was that newborns that had been
exposed took three times as long to find their way out of the experimental maze
and made twice as many errors and is again it’s a statistically valid method
for evaluation learning now closer to home so to speak between the brain and
the test Asst studies have been done here in Australia at Newcastle by a
fellow who’s now the pro Chancellor of the University and these studies have
been done taking sperm from healthy men and one test tube gets exposed to
cellphone radiation and one test tube is not exposed to mobile phone radiation
and then the results are evaluated and this is a measure of vitality we measure
how well the sperm swim this is a measure of mobility motility this is a
measure of mitochondrial DNA damage they have three times as much damage on their
DNA if they have been exposed to mobile phone radiation as compared to controls
and now the issue is why does it take a half a billion sperm to make just one
healthy baby it takes a lot of sperm to make a healthy baby the answer is
because sperm don’t know how to ask for directions but they are easy to study and these
research has been done in India in the United States at the Cleveland Clinic
and around the world so many different studies have been done on sperm damage
associated with mobile phone radiation that in the seventh edition of the
textbook biostatistics and medicine Stanton glance concludes that the
evidence linking mobile phone radiation to sperm damage is causal meaning there
clearly is a cause of damage to sperm for mobile phone radiation now it’s we
have a lot of uncertainties in this field the truth is we have a lot of
uncertainties but not about sperm there the evidence has become rather strong
and it’s become clear so clear that the Indian government has issued warnings
about this that clinics that deal with reproductive problems are routinely
advising young men to get those phones out of their pockets recognizing that
this is a hidden hazard to healthy reproduction this is the data from the
Cleveland Clinic showing that men who keep cell phones in their pockets the
longest have the lowest sperm count and again there are many other studies with
similar results so we can debate legitimately the question of brain
cancer and I would welcome an open and honest debate about that question but
when it comes to issues like this there really is not much to debate and it’s
interesting that the research on this issue comes from people who are expert
in male fertility who started to treat men at infertility clinics and noticed
that this was a major contributor to their fertility problems now
experimental studies have been done also in India to confirm this kind of damage
not just looking at prenatal exposure or early early life exposure but taking
middle-aged rats seventy day old male rats that’s middle-aged for rat and
exposing them to hours a day for 45 days to a computer generated
phone signal and those results show lower testosterone which is a very
important hormone for a male men and women both have testosterone men just
need a lot more of it and also increases of DNA damage as measured by certain
enzymes and the and the offspring had lower fertility and this is just to show
you this is a normal test this you see the boundaries the cell wall it looks
very nice and this is after microwave radiation exposure so it’s pretty it’s
there are some pretty stunning images that have been generated in the basic
biology literature when it comes to these kinds of effects
now the breast the breast is mostly fat contains a lot of fluid things that
contain flat and fluid cook faster in the microwave oven now a cellphone can’t
cook anything right mobile phones do not pop popcorn that
was a fraud they don’t make any heat that we know of otherwise they wouldn’t
be permitted but they do go through things that contain fat and fluid and we
are now working an Environmental Health Trust with scientists at the University
of California San Francisco scientists at formerly the president of
the American Cancer Society of California because we are seeing women
who keep cell phones in their bras does anyone seen a woman put a cell phone in
her bra hands up please please tell them you’ve heard now why they shouldn’t do
that and here I want to show you our first case report from 2009 and we now
have many more this was a chinese-american woman a
chinese-american woman who used her cell phone for hours a day in her bra for 10
years while she was driving now and you drive with a with a phone on your body
the phone is smart it’s going to go from one tower to another and it’s going to
say Here I am where are you here I am and it’s going to be going to max power
each time it moves from one cell tower to another and there it was right next
to her chest and the tumors that developed
developed right under the antenna of the phone unusual tumors well you know
that’s a very good question does it apply to males who would put the phone
in their breast pocket we actually have cases now of men with unusual skin
cancers or unusual growth where they’ve kept their phone in one place and again
if they were test phones would not be passed testing approval if they if they
were to do that male breast cancer is very rare very very rare but we are
seeing some reports of cases and here unfortunately this is a an MRI of a
young woman very brave young woman named Tiffany France when she was 21 she’s now
22 she developed metastatic breast cancer
this is metastases into her chest wall right here and this is outlined the
phone and it was subcutaneous so it’s like right under the surface of the skin
it was it was not deep within the breast most breast cancer occurs in women over
50 it occurs in the upper outer quadrant
these tumors occurred right under the antennae of the phone and now we have 38
of them not a single one of them has a family history none of them has
inherited the defects that we know increase the risk of breast cancer
they have multifocal tumours that means they have more than one tumor and the
tumors are located under the antennae sometimes just right in the center of
the chest so we’re collecting information because that’s what we do in
science but we want to in the meantime issue precautionary advice because
that’s also what we do in public health when it comes to setting public policy
when it comes to further work on the prenatal impacts my colleagues at Yale
University have taken mice exposed them to mobile phone radiation and they have
found significant effects those mices behavior as adults all right
prenatally exposed mice have hyperactivity as adults and these are
some of the data they have worse memory they’re more hyperactive they have more
anxiety but they don’t have much fear it’s kind of interesting and because of
that that is why we’ve developed the baby safe project working with
colleagues at Yale University and around the world now how many of you had heard
that in 2011 the World Health Organization had reviewed all of the
evidence and decided that mobile phone radiation was a possible human
carcinogen how many people had heard that okay it’s interesting that that
information isn’t more widely known and we can explore the reasons for that
perhaps at a later time but the fact is the group that reviewed this evidence
for the World Health Organization looked at all the evidence at the time in 2011
and at that time they said it’s important to conduct additional research
and it’s important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure now that’s
why it’s wonderful that Telstra is giving this advice but we are not
conducting additional research and in fact the World Health Organization
itself is no longer conducting a leading study on brain cancer and mobile phones environmental health trust the
organization that I had published an article in 2013 saying that we think
that mobile phone radiation is a probable human carcinogen and I want to
show you briefly the reasons why we reached that conclusion these are
studies published since the World Health Organization IRC review in 2011 so these
are relative here hard ell from Sweden and Sarah not from France
and what these are showing you is that the relative risk of developing brain
cancer with more than 16 hundred and forty hours of lifetime use of a phone
is almost three times higher compared to people who did not use mobile phones now
this I know this seems like very confusing these numbers don’t make a lot
of sense to many of you but really the way you get these numbers is it’s like
waiting for the grass to grow you study people who have brain cancer and you
compare them with people who don’t have brain cancer but they’re otherwise
similar they’re your controls and you compare the people with brain cancer to
those don’t have the disease and you ask well do you remember whether you talked
on the phone it’s not a very precise science actually there’s a lot of
problems with what are called exposure miss classification it biases you toward
the null hypothesis the reality is it’s a very poor way of doing research but we
don’t have an alternative at this point and what we need to do is to get the
cooperation of telecom industry to get billing records so we actually have real
data instead of asking people to remember how much they use their phone
that’s something that again you might be able to do in Australia but I can tell
you we can’t do it in the United States that’s for sure in France they were able
to do it a little bit better and they were able to get these data here and
interestingly if people started to use phones regularly before age 20 as most
of the world is doing now there was four to eight times more brain cancer after
they reached had past ten years so now why is there no increase in brain cancer
that we can find in the general population today because there is not
and after all if mobile phones really are important why don’t we have an
epidemic today well let me tell you why first of all brain cancer takes a long
time to develop how do we know that we know that because
when the bombs fell at the end of World War two there was no increase in brain
cancer in the survivors who have been studied no increase at all until forty
years had passed it took 40 years for an increase in brain cancer to show up in
that highly exposed population now think about this today the number of people
using cellphones today and using them heavily today is very different than it
was even five years ago even three years ago now you’re being encouraged to have
unlimited talk and text right you didn’t have unlimited talk and text five years
ago or ten years ago so the uses and the users of phones are
changing radically in fact most epidemiologic studies find no increased
risk of brain cancer from mobile phone radiation they don’t until 10 years of
heavy use and by the way the way they define a cell phone user in these
studies I’m not making this up is somebody who makes one call a week for
six months yes that’s this that wasn’t yes one call a week for six months that
was the definition in these studies which by the way don’t find any increase
all right so I’m not saying this to say that they did a bad job I’m saying that
we are challenged here with how do you do a study of something that’s rapidly
changing while you’re studying it the technology has changed the way people
have used it has changed we never anticipated having infants and toddlers
and cribs using these things nobody ever anticipated that there’s never been any
modeling of the brain until we did this right now and when I first stood my
colleagues by the way took us four years to get this work done and four years ago
I said let’s let’s do that modeling and they said what are you talking about why
would anybody want to model an infant or a three-year-old using a mobile phone I
said you wait unfortunately and so now we have an market because the
adult market is saturated Australia already has more phones than people it
does and so the market expands to the infants and toddlers now I want to share
with you some of the work from my colleagues in India dr. Sharma is the
senior deputy director-general of the Indian Council medical research and this
work Malka I think will be a great interest to you because you work on
honeybees we don’t just have to wait for brain cancer to take 40 years to come up
with answers honeybees have the advantage of being relatively easy to
study and there actually are established protocols for doing this and I’m going
to share with you some of these data and they have been developed by colleagues
from a number of countries honeybees have different characteristic dance
patterns and they have different jobs there’s the worker bees and there’s the
bees that make the honey and there’s the bees that protect the Queen and I don’t
know all the details but here’s what I do know if you try to study these under
controlled conditions you can take hives and put a mobile phone in some highs and
a mobile phone and other hives that’s not on and what you can find is that
after exposing the honeybees to an operating mobile phone the workers don’t
come back to the hives now this ought to be of great concern
because agriculture depends on honeybees I think you in Australia have a new
business that’s developed I know it’s in the United States where people drive
trucks around with hives in it to fertilize crops have you heard of this
they drive them around because the honeybees are disappearing now there are
many different factors that affect honeybees climate is certainly one
pesticides is certainly another but mobile phone radiation could be yet
another and we certainly need to find out if that is the case ten minutes of mobile phone radiation
daily for 10 days worker bees did not return to test colonies and this would
be something that could easily be replicated so now we have to deal with
the reality there are many inconsistent results I’m not just skimming the cream
here and showing you the positive ones there are a lot of studies that find
nothing at all nothing why well first of all sometimes they study different cell
cultures so if you’re looking for adult cells they may be much more robust than
if you’re looking at neuronal stem cells and that turns out to be the case
sometimes they’re using different exposures if you’re looking at
continuous wave versus digital pulse signals if you’re looking at a square
wave versus a sine wave there’s also another fact we have to
talk about which is yet another reason why I’m glad that Australia is not
America sponsored research this is to put it politely can induce publication
bias another way to say this is that where you stand on an issue depends on
where you sit and who’s bought your chair and there’s a tremendous amount of
sponsored research by people who are hired to do studies to find no effect
and that’s plagued this field in a number of countries including within the
government itself including within the government itself so I don’t know about
the details here with ARPANSA but I can tell you in the United States today the
gentleman who is directing the Federal Communications Commission Tom wheeler
was for 10 years the executive director of the cellphone telecommunications
industry association and now he’s in charge of regulating those devices so
it’s challenging to have a neutral playing field under that circumstance
one example the US Congress asked for study of what needed to be done on mobile phone radiation in 1993 in 1998
in 2002 in 2012 that’s how many times they’ve asked for that study to be done
so each time a study is done and each time the conclusion is reached we need
more research we need more research well that’s my bed and butter of course we
need more research but if instead of funding the research all you’re doing is
calling for it then it becomes a bit of a smokescreen so that’s part of our
challenge on this issue it’s a lot easier to call for research than it is
to carry it out this research is hard to do it’s not simple there are real
complexities to this field unfortunately at least in the past industry had a very
clear strategy and in my book disconnect I document and quote in the new
afterword in that in 1994 when industry first became aware that there were
studies suggesting that mobile phone radiation could damage brain cells of
rats a memo was written to quote war – game of the science war game the science
this issue is far too important to be gamed
it’s not a matter of war it’s a matter of the future health of your children
and grandchildren and that’s why it’s really a special honor for me to be here
today to talk with you about what could be done here are some of the policy
responses that have developed so far there are right – no laws and policies
labeling is spreading headsets must be provided with all phones in a number of
countries and I’ll get to those in a moment there are changes in hardware and
antenna design and software operating systems that can be developed
and they’re also in changes to what we demand for proof of evidentiary burden
any lawyers here right so the evidentiary burden that’s being required
for proof of harm is is changing do you really want to have to prove that
there’s a significant increased risk of brain cancer before taking steps to
reduce exposures to prevent that harm from happening that’s really the
question how much evidence do we need before taking precautionary steps and
that’s what brings me back to my days at the National Academy of Sciences when we
seriously looked at the evidence on passive smoke an airplane travel we only
finally took steps to act when it became clear that children of smokers were
hospitalized more often that was the evidence that that we had to have and I
would suggest that at this point we should be able to do better as a
civilization we start with we need standardized ways to evaluate things
there is no standardized metric that’s something you could develop at this
school in particular one of the other things that can be done which our
colleagues in India are doing is to create cross-sectional surveys in this
room right now you can divide this room up into people who are high medium and
low cellphone users there’s probably nobody who doesn’t have a phone or who
will admit to it right now but if you did look at people cross sectionally and
you looked at their memory and their reaction time and their reproductive
health you would learn a lot from that and they are doing that now in India and
we’ll talk some more about that in my conversations I’ll have with some of the
faculty later on in the meantime some schools are promoting wired school
programs with shared banks of computers and public educational efforts are
really proceeding to let people know you shouldn’t have to find that information
buried inside your phone I mean come on that’s not fair
parents teachers and health professionals should be informed and
they in turn can work with students to make sure people are using technology in
a safe away as possible now here’s some of the other policies that have been
developed in France there’s a ban on advertising to young children under age
12 by the way all cell phones have to be sold with earpieces there has to be
labeling of the specific absorption rate on phones and there’s got to be warnings
in India they’ve lowered their tower limits to one tenth that of the
international standards and they have official guidelines for cell phone use
using headsets and speaker phones the Supreme Court in India has actually
ordered a number of towers to be torn down but it’s it’s a very tough battle
to have to fight rather than having to get a tower torn down there ought to be
siting rules and policies that make sense and in many countries there are no
real sensible siting policies Israel which is a country that has a lot of
important issues to deal with right now has a National Institute on non ionizing
radiation they say no Wi-Fi in kindergarten they all prefer wired over
wireless in schools all phones again are to come with headsets and safety and no
advertising with children in Belgium the law has been implemented as of 2014 it
was passed in 2013 no phones are to be designed or sold for children under the
age of seven again all handsets must be sold with headsets and the sale to young
children is specifically prohibited prohibited Canada has issued practical
advice as well and I don’t go into any more details here these slides will
become available on the website for the University and we have much more
detailed information I can share with you from our website as well
the Canadian parliamentary Health Committee has urged that there be a
recognition that this is a quote serious serious public health issue
and we agree and I testified before the Canadian Parliament on this issue and I
was pleased to see their report agree with that point now in the United States
a US District Court has recently ruled that even if there is a reasonable
possibility that cell phone radiation is carcinogenic the time for action in the
Public Health and regulatory sectors is upon us
and I think that that is a very important idea that we should all be
aware of let’s not debate the kinds of evidence we have now about brain cancer
I agree that evidence can be debated but we have
enough evidence of damage and we have these other countries have taken steps
now they can’t all be dismissed Berkeley California has unanimously passed the
cellphone right-to-know law it’s called an ordinance requiring notification that
if you carry your phone in your pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when
the phone is on you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF
radiation this is a website that has all of the fine print warnings so far as we
know them available Environmental Health Trust is working with others to share
this information we hope you’ll share it with all of your friends and family this
is the baby safe project that we have underway and now just so you understand
that this is not a question of being anti industry here’s what industry is
doing Vodafone has to provide a report to the American government as part of
their annual reporting to the Security and Exchange Commission they must report
on what are called risk factors and uncertainties and they report that
they face risks because they may have to pay people for health damages the last
sentence there a change to this view that there’s no health problem could
result in a major reduction in phone usage or major litigation that’s a risk
China Mobile in their report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission they
had to say we cannot be certain that future studies will not impute a link
between electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects and because of
that it’s a potential risk as well AT&T says unfavorable litigation could result
and require us to pay significant amounts of money well speaking of money
would you give two cents would you pay two cents a month for every device you
have for every provider for every manufacturer in order to support the
cross-disciplinary training program that is needed in bio electromagnetics for
engineers and physicians and computer scientists that’s what’s needed to
identify the data gaps the research and development needs to monitor the
populations to see what is happening to our children today to look at hearing
and memory and sperm count that’s what I think we need we need a major program to
fund independent research and training because I learned this way way after I
went to all that schooling you mentioned at the beginning and it’s not easy stuff
to do I hold my head off to all of you electrical engineers it’s complicated
but in the meantime people have a right to know how you can minimize exposure
and again I think this information is available on our website will be
available on yours remember if you have to give a phone to
a child put it on airplane mode and think about
this that microwave oven it works because there’s a metal box around the
microwave signal and the signal pings all over the place next time you get
into an elevator or a train for any length of time put your phone on
airplane mode otherwise that signals going all over the place
magnifying and coming back keep the mobile phone away from you when it’s on
and you are asleep now it takes a village to do a lot of things
these are some of the people whose materials I’ve used today with their
permission and I can’t read this list to you but I want you to know that I feel
really honored to be working with some of the most challenged people in the
world on this issue and they have given me permission to share these materials
with you and I leave you with this thought and from Albert Einstein the
world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who
look at it without doing anything so thank you you

2 thoughts on “The terrifying truth about phones and wireless radiation by Dr. Devra Davis

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