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Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

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Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Dr. Christiane Northrup
Dr. Christiane Northrup More by this author
Jun 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM 0 comments

In the spring of 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement saying, “Cell phones might possibly cause brain cancer, and further research is necessary.” Similarly, the World Health Organization, who relies on the IARC for information and recommendations about cancer, said, “Cell phone use is possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Hearing this news has caused many of you to wonder whether your cell phone is dangerous—and if there is anything you should do differently.

The debate on whether cell phones cause cancer has been going on for years. The problem is that they emit electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is no different than the radiation emitted from power lines. For decades, studies have shown that people who live near (and children who play under) power lines are more likely to develop cancer. Our bodies weren’t designed to deal with this much electronic pollution.

What people don’t realize is that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are generated by everything. The difference is that electronic gadgets, including lamps, baby monitors, alarm clocks, computers, microwaves, and cell phones all emit manmade EMFs. Your body—and the earth, itself—has its own electromagnetic system. And that’s the problem. EMFs from our gadgets interrupt our own electromagnetic field.

EMF exposure is more dangerous for babies and children as well as pregnant women. It’s also not safe for the man who keeps his laptop on his lap (near his reproductive system) for many hours a day. It makes sense that holding a cell phone against your head for long periods of time could be a health concern.

Better Safe Than Sorry

It's not possible to eliminate exposure to EMFs completely, unless you’re someplace deserted with no WiFi or cell phone towers. But you can limit the amount of electromagnetic radiation fairly easily.

Did you know that in the instructions that come with your phone the manufacturer advises that you keep it about an inch away from your head? Yup—these are the FCC’s safe limits. So put your call on speakerphone or use a headset instead of putting the cell phone against your ear. A wired earpiece and a Bluetooth earpiece both emit some radiation, but it is much less. Just don’t leave the earpiece in your ear all day long.

Also try to keep your phone at a distance from your body, like in your purse or brief case. If you do keep it on your body, don’t keep it in the same pocket every day.

Know that when you can’t hear, for example you have a poor signal in an elevator, your device is emitting even more radiation because it’s trying to pull in a signal.

Also know that children are at particular risk. Do not allow your children to have cell phones until they have reached puberty or beyond. And DO NOT permit them to sleep with cell phones under their pillows (so they won't miss a text message). If your little one simply must play with your phone, put it in airplane mode. Your phone emits less radiation in airplane mode.

It’s also a good idea to keep computers out of your bedroom. And if you have to sleep with your phone on, put it on a bureau across the room, not on your bedside table.


EMF pollution can cause real health problems for some individuals. My colleague Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a holistic cardiologist, was puzzled when his adult child became very ill and lost about one third of his body weight. His son had been working on Wall Street where every day he was in close proximity to more electronic gadgets than the average person comes in contact with over a lifetime. While helping his son, Dr. Sinatra came in contact with earthing, and determined that the EMF exposure played a role in his son’s poor health.

Earthing is a practice that helps you reground to the earth, thereby reestablishing your body’s natural electromagnetic field. It’s easily done just by walking barefoot. I interviewed Dr. Sinatra on my radio show Flourish a few months ago. Click here to hear Dr. Sinatra explain it in his own words.

Dr. Sinatra recently released a book, which he wrote with Clinton Ober and Martin Zucker, called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? If you are exposed to a lot of electromagnetic radiation, this natural practice is a way to ground your own energy to the earth and limit the effects of EMFs on your system.

The Final Word

Although the IARC’s press release was billed as news, it wasn’t based on any new research, just a review of data from numerous existing studies. It may take years know exactly what affect cell phone use has on health.

It’s safe to say EMFs are here to stay, though. But guess what? You can decrease your exposure and risk, just by staying grounded and making some sensible choices about how you use your phone.

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