Cell Phone Radiation

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dr. Devra Davis, founding director of the toxicology and environmental studies board at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, discusses the recent and long-suppressed research on the dangers of cell phone radiation. In Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, Davis reveals the dark side of these ubiquitous gadgets and the trillion-dollar industry behind them.


Dr. Devra Davis

Comments [105]

Andrew from Brooklyn

I am so happy to read all of the comments here. I was diagnosed a little over 3 years ago with a cancerous brain tumor, right frontal lobe.

Two surgeries later and a lot of healing work done, I am cancer free (no chemo/radiation!). Did my cell phone cause the cancer and tumor in my brain? That is up for discussion.

But, that being said, I have no doubt it contributed to the growth of the tumor. Having had a mobile phone since the first Sprint device, I can almost certainly give some credit to its contribution.

I don't blame anyone thing for my cancer. However, since we are constantly being bombarded with electromagnetic waves of all types, I say it is most important to protect ourselves.

I do this by keeping my body in the color violet at all times. Shutting your phone off, not using it, or any other preventative action may or may not be the answer. I use my phone now and no matter what the science, I can feel it heating up my brain. I CAN FEEL IT!!

To me the answer is easy: just hold your phone in your right hand and see what comes to your mind. Ask it if it is safe to use. You decide. Don't let anyone tell you what is and is not safe for your children. Walking down the street is dangerous too. Driving etc. I'm all for us humans using our abilities to protect ourselves from harm, but we have to act on it.

May. 31 2011 08:29 PM

As soon as someone says Radiation everyone Panics. Visible light is radiation, radio and TV signals are radiation. Are you worried about turning on a radio or a light bulb? Visible Green light carries 240 KJ/mole of radiation. The average cell phone carries 0.001 Kj/mole of radiation. 240,000 times LESS energy than visible green light. Should we all close our eyes forever. In order to cause harm the energy MUST break a chemical bond. The energy from a cell phone is no where close to causing that reaction. It doesn't even have enough power to BEND the bond let alone break it. Do the Math people and do the physics. Just because someone is a researcher and writes a book doesn't mean you have to drink the KoolAid

Apr. 03 2011 12:13 PM
Ian Lyn from Brooklyn NY

If I remember this show, the guest said we should not use our cellphones as alarm clocks and to unplug the wireless modem in the house at night. What if I put my cellphone on airline mode? Is it still a good alarm then?

Nov. 02 2010 01:15 AM
Lisa Baker from Brooklyn

Amen! How smart do you have to be to know that, if it takes 18 years for Alzheimer's to even start to show up, brain cancer's going to take time, too. Keep those phones away from my kids. They do not miss what they've never owned, and whine about plenty, but certainly not thousand-dollar-per-year radiation devices.

What about all the torroids and tapes and other remedial devices that are taped onto phones or electrical boxes and ipads? Anyone have experience with them?

Great subject. Hope to hear more about this

Oct. 02 2010 08:00 PM
Del Williams from NY

What a fantastic range of comments. As usual WNYC commenters/viewers blow the hosts away.
From @Helen catching Leonard letting puffballs suffice to the extremes of incompletely-educated people who are accepting studies (both sides) that are distant from neutral scientific examination.

At median operating range of 820mz, the cell phone is a microwave oven without the protective shield

Weizmann Institute, which won another Nobel this year, boils it down, as do several of the larger studies not paid for the industry.

1) Each set of human and rodent brain cells exposed to 820mh cell phones actually vaporized about 10,000 brain cells per second while the phone was operating or ringing, EXCEPT for blackberries, Iphones, or any other "double," which irradiates and vaporizes some 25,000 brain cells per second.

2) The scary one: EVERY set of human and rodent brain cells exposed for 10 minutes and 10 seconds began proliferating. For those of you with educations, you know that proliferation is a fairly complete description of cancer.

3) Men who wear cell phones on hip lose an average of eighty percent of their sperm motility

4) Even before cell phone proliferation, every area of the country near an electrical plant has 3 to 7x the national cancer rate. In Long Island, for example, women living near electrical plants have SEVEN-plus times the nat'l rate of breast cancer. Ouch.

Respectfully, those of us who have been blessed with learning how to boost our I.Q.'s, a point at a time, many times, have worked so hard to get here. What possible convenience that we lived without for many years before they were invented... could be worth the loss of so many brain cells?

I try to be respectful, but cold fact is cold fact, and you are asked not to bring a cell phone within eight feet of my child's precious brain. You're not quite as educated as you believe, and the moment you learn to act as if this is true, your intelligence rises... and rises


Oct. 02 2010 07:47 PM
harrison from Hudson Valley

Wi-fi is just as bad and worse in some cases

Oct. 01 2010 02:52 PM
Estelle Tsantes from 11226

I'm amazed at the number of comments that deny the possibilty/probabilty that there are real dangers from heavy use of cell phones. Don't people realize that it can take decades for cancers to emerge. I suspect that the naysayers are in denial.

Sep. 29 2010 05:20 PM
Amy from Manhattan

George Peters, why would an organization of electrical/electronic engineers have a vested interest in anything other than getting the science right?

Sep. 28 2010 04:26 PM
Sue Fragale from Long Beach, NY

The show with Dr. Davis was great. But she left out a few important points and was less than accurate about head sets/ear pieces. First, as quoted by the FDA, a "hands free" head set has wire in it and is connected to your cell phone. Therefore the wire acts just as antenna and actually TRIPLES the amount of radiation going into the ear or head. Headsets are BAD and worsen the radiation levels. Instead, use SPEAKER PHONE mode only. Second, the cell phone industry has set up a $30 billion dollar fund in anticipation of future law suits. This fact is little known, but the FDA knows it. Third, the frame of our car acts like the walls of a microwave oven. When you use a cell phone IN your car, make sure to leave a window open for the waves to escape. Otherwise the microwaves bounce off the walls in your car and work much the same way as we cook food in a microwave oven.


Sep. 28 2010 01:48 PM
George Peters from Manhattan

Paul Brodeur has written deeply analytic studies on EM pollution. Read "Currents of Death" and "The Zapping of America". I came upon his work in a long, thorough article in the New Yorker. He has been harassed and 'debunked' by professional bodies with a vested interest, such as the IEEE. Read these works and then tell me there is no evidence.

Sep. 28 2010 01:36 PM
RobNYNY1957 from near a cell phone

It looks like cell phone use actually decreases brain cancer:

From 1990 to 2002, the overall age-adjusted incidence rates for brain cancer decreased slightly; from 7.0 cases to 6.4 cases for every 100,000 persons in the United States

Sep. 28 2010 01:12 PM
Helen from NYC

I'm really disappointed that Leonard didn't ask this woman any tough questions, and pretty much just let her rant using his show as her soapbox. I just looked up her CV, and this woman does not have one degree in science. Her background is in sociology and history. Where's the science?

Sep. 28 2010 01:10 PM
Magenta from NYC

Dear People, you are all in naive denial if you think that new products / technological
"innovations" have been tested for anything besides their ability to get you to buy them.
This woman is a world treasure and you would be smart to read every word she has ever written and will write in the future. She is willing to say what you - and the corporations that make money off of your naivete - do not want to hear. Wisen up, friends !

Sep. 28 2010 01:04 PM
nn from pa


The subjects of the study you cite were "all users of cellular telephones [in Denmark] during the period from 1982 through 1995." Seems to me cell phone use has changed just a bit since then.

If you're not "speaking outside of [your] field," I'm not very impressed with your using this citation.

Sep. 28 2010 01:01 PM

Please do a follow up segment. There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions. I feel more confused after the segment.


Sep. 28 2010 12:57 PM
George Peters from Manhattan

Paul Brodeur made a very thorough study published in the New Yorker. Read " The Zapping of America" and "Currents of Death". He was slandered and prosecuted by the very(paid-for) experts you cite from IEEE. Read these books and then tell me there is 'no evidence'

Sep. 28 2010 12:54 PM
Barbara Walker from Ossining, New York

I hope Leonard Lopate will invite Robert Park, University of Maryland emeritus in physics, to counter Ms. Davis. In his weekly e-letter, What's New, Park has carried on a valiant campaign against the mythology of cell phone dangers. His work can be found at

Sep. 28 2010 12:53 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Katie: if you put it on the other side of the bag, it's farther from your body. The thicker the bag, the farther away the phone will be. The distances Dr. Davis cited were around an inch.

Sep. 28 2010 12:52 PM
Joe from NJ

Dr Davis mentioned that she participated in producing a VIDEO for young people---would you post a link to it so we can see it & show it to our kids?

Sep. 28 2010 12:50 PM
alan kaplan from New Jersey


This is a national cancer institute web site showing the incidence of brain cancers.
Note that they have been declining for both men and women since the 1990s. Since cell phone use has increased wildly since the 1980s one would expect a statistically significant increase in brain cancer rates if cell phones made a substantial contribution.

Sep. 28 2010 12:49 PM
Milton from queens

Does Dr. Davis know that cell phones use non ionizing radiation? There is no risk for tissue damage. She is also not a medical doctor. She does have a Phd in "science studies" whatever that means.
She doesn't have any specialization in the physical sciences like radiation either. Im sure she is a bright woman but she is speaking outside of her field.

Anyway, do your own research. I'm not concerned. Cell phone radiation is much weaker than microwave radiation, it does not oscillate or create heat. David Raynard who sued because he thought cell phone radiation caused his wife's brain tumor had his case thrown out due to lack of evidence.

There is also this study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which followed 420,000 cell phone users over 13 years which states "Risk for these cancers . .. did not vary by duration of cellular telephone use, time
since first subscription , age at first subscription , or type of cellular telephone
(analogue or digital). Analysis of brain and nervous system tumors showed no
statistically significant [ standardized incidence ratios ] for any subtype or anatomic
location . The results of this investigation . .. do not support the hypothesis of an
association between use of these telephones and tumors of the brain or salivary
gland, leukemia, or other cancers ."

Sep. 28 2010 12:46 PM
Wells from NYC

The physics is very simple. By the logic of the cell phone scare mongers, visible light would be even more dangerous. EM Radiation is just light. We are surrounded by it all the time, visible, radio, microwave, and even ultraviolet (which is dangerous). We're exposed to these types of EM waves daily and constantly. Visible light is more energetic than microwave or radio so how come we're not afraid of visible light?

Your guest is making more logical fallacies in every statement that I can count.

Yes, stick your head in a microwave and you will cook - because the radiation is so concentrated, but move just one inch away and the waves scatter and attenuate so much, they become utterly harmless.

Cell phones operate at such a lower frequency, that you'd need to surround yourself with thousands just to feel a little heat (which is a sign of loss of energy from EM radiation).

I wish you had a physicist on at the same time to actually correct what your guest is actually saying, not to mention an epidemiologist involved in one of these studies.

I'm very disappointed. You have officially added to the ignorance of America in matters of science.

Sep. 28 2010 12:40 PM

wake up people!

Sep. 28 2010 12:40 PM
Dan from NYC, Manhattan

I do not dispute the point-of-view of Dr. Davis about the health hazards of using a cell phone; but I wish to correct her statement about micro wave radiation and radio wave radiation. Both are electromagmetic radiation: the latter is at the low frequecy part of the spectrum, the former is in the higher frequency part of the spectrum.

Sep. 28 2010 12:40 PM
CB from Bed-Stuy

I've known about this for some time thanks to shows on WBAI. It's about time it's available in an accessible book and on WNYC! Thanks, Devra Davis.

Sep. 28 2010 12:39 PM
LL from UWS

Thank you for this segment!

Sep. 28 2010 12:38 PM
Wells from NYC

The physics is very simple. By the logic of the cell phone scare mongers, visible light would be even more dangerous. EM Radiation is just light. We are surrounded by it all the time, visible, radio, microwave, and even ultraviolet (which is dangerous). We're exposed to these types of EM waves daily and constantly. Visible light is more energetic than microwave or radio so how come we're not afraid of visible light?

Your guest is making more logical fallacies in every statement that I can count.

Yes, stick your head in a microwave and you will cook - because the radiation is so concentrated, but move just one inch away and the waves scatter and attenuate so much, they become utterly harmless.

Cell phones operate at such a lower frequency, that you'd need to surround yourself with thousands just to feel a little heat (which is a sign of loss of energy from EM radiation).

I wish you had a physicist on at the same time to actually correct what your guest is actually saying, not to mention an epidemiologist involved in one of these studies.

I'm very disappointed. You have officially added to the ignorance of America in matters of science.

Sep. 28 2010 12:38 PM
ZBS from KY

any carnying cases (holsters) lower the risk?

Sep. 28 2010 12:38 PM

In response Jetty - keep in mind that it could take over twenty years for cancer to develop.

Sep. 28 2010 12:37 PM


The Lopate Show responds: Audio for this segment will be available later this afternoon.

Sep. 28 2010 12:36 PM

Dr. Davis is good but she is not a scientist in this discipline. Many scientific terms she uses are used incorrectly which, at time, make things sound worse than they may be.

To date all studies have failed to show any direct link between cell phones and human health.

Studies done that show an effect used worst-case scenarios in an attempt to detect an effect. Most of these also failed to show health issues.

Tissue heating with non-ionizing radtiation is unlikely at low power levels.

Testing should continue in any case.

Most product warnings ahev been the result of court cases that were decided based on law suits that were won due to, in most cases, faulty scientific arguments.

Sep. 28 2010 12:36 PM


What about those little stick ons that you can get that supposedly block the EMF... do they work or are they a sham?

Sep. 28 2010 12:36 PM
SK from NYC

seriously leonard, where is the other side to this issue? most studies have shown that cell phones causing cancer is inconclusive at best. you often present these kinds of segments (ie water cleanliness in swimming pools, safety of house cleaning products) without presenting the other side. this all sounds like fear mongering to me.

Sep. 28 2010 12:36 PM
Rob from Newark

Are there dangers to wearing phones on your belt?

Are wi-fi devices like the ipod touch dangerous?

Sep. 28 2010 12:36 PM

Is there any research for creating a carrier to hold cellphones safely...something that could be used to block radiation and allow you to carry the phone in a bag/purse?

Sep. 28 2010 12:35 PM
dan from Morristown, NJ

There is so much misinformation here.

The RF levels from wireless devices (and cellular base station) is actually less significant than the RF leakage from common consumer electronics and househould applicances -- and in many cases it's lower than the electromagnetic energy level naturally emitted by human beings.

Sep. 28 2010 12:35 PM
katie from Brooklyn

You keep saying not to keep the phone right over your abdomen. Then, where should you keep it? Is it safe in a purse or messenger bag if you're holding the bag right on your body? If not, then how are you supposed to carry it at all?

Sep. 28 2010 12:35 PM
zach in west palm beach from west palm beach

I have a wave shield on my iphone. Is it effective?

Sep. 28 2010 12:34 PM
marc from brooklyn

hey - do protective cases on the iphone protect us at all from radiation?

Sep. 28 2010 12:34 PM
myron from brooklyn

can the guest comment on the death of reginald lewis, the first black billionaire and owner of the defunct beatrice foods who died of brain cancer in 1993 apparently from overuse of his cell phone. of course, those were the days when a cell phone was the size of a man's 13-size shoe...

Sep. 28 2010 12:34 PM
joy from manhattan

my brother had parotid gland cancer roughly yrs ago. after removal and radiation he is fine. definitely from cell phone use as he had headaches before with cell use and had gone to headset very early on. still got the cancer.
this is not fear mongering.

Sep. 28 2010 12:33 PM
Norman from NYC

I don't believe her. She lied about the WHO study.

Sep. 28 2010 12:33 PM
yamika from fort worth,tx

we have old cell phones in our house that my 18 month daughter likes to play with,they are off,do they radiate too?

Sep. 28 2010 12:33 PM
Nicole from nyc

When I upgraded to a stronger phone, I began to get headaches.
This is a problem not just with cell phones, but with wireless signals more generally.

Sep. 28 2010 12:33 PM
Laura from New Jersey

Some tall apartment buildings appear to have cell phone antennas on their roofs. Do residents have any say in whether they are installed? What are the safety concerns of living in or near one of these buildings?

Sep. 28 2010 12:33 PM
PL Hayes

Yes... As Mike says: what *carcinogenic* non-thermal biological effects do we now know non-ionising radiation can cause?

... a lot of very dubious stuff from this interviewee. Not up to date on this myself, and concern is one thing, but quoting relative risk increases is a dead giveaway of someone more interested in scaremongering than in disseminating information IME.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
LTM from nyc

Please discuss texting.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Norman from NYC

How does she know that radios are safe? Radios emit electromagnetic radiation.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Bill from UWS

If you can't site any evidence of an epidemic, then why should I be concerned? I could list any number of things in the modern world that *might* present health issues over time, but it's all speculation.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM

I tuned in late so maybe you discussed this, but what about bluetooth? Are BT headsets safe? People are wearing them constantly.

Also people are using wireless keyboards and mice for long periods at their computers.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Guy from Manhattan

The real issue is that all man-made Electronic devices (not just electric, but Electronic- those with micro-chips and batteries), cause damage to the cells of all living things. The question is how much exposure, and how long the exposure, determines the permanence of the damage. Devra is mostly on to it, but she is not talking about measuring EMF dangers using a GAUSS meter to measure Milligauss. Any wireless device, not just mobile handsets, are double wammies because of the combination of EMF emission, and the Microwave radiation from the radio signal.
Keep the most powerful devices away from your body (laptops&mobiles), by using buffers or distance. Avoid Wi-Fi and cordless phones. Amy is right about the EWG website.

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Anna from Little Italy

what about the batteries in hybrid cars??!!

Sep. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Jetty from Port Washington

See Bob Parks from U of Maryland:
The use of cell phones has become ubiquitous in modern society. There is also a lot of brain cancer. This has led to a lot of people to suggest that the two are connected, and the state of Maine is considering legislation that would require cell phone manufacturers to print a warning on the product. But has the incidence of brain cancer increased at anything like the numbers of cell phones. It is a troubling issue for most physicists who recognize that cell phones almost certainly cant cause cancer. All known cancer agents act by breaking chemical bonds in DNA, creating mutant strands that may multiply to become cancers. Microwave photons are orders of magnitude short of being able to break chemical bonds. The Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society recognize this, but for most Americans the words quantum mechanics are simply an announcement that you won't understand what follows. Even a very bright high school student probably won't have any idea what you're talking about.

Sep. 28 2010 12:31 PM
john neglia

Can she comment on Blue tooth devices...suchas on the ear?

Sep. 28 2010 12:31 PM
Edward from NJ

She keeps mentioning the importance of using headsets. Nowadays, that means bluetooth. If cordless phones are dangerous, then bluetooth should be too.

Sep. 28 2010 12:30 PM
Judith from NYC

What type of headset is recommended for a Blackberry 8330?

Sep. 28 2010 12:30 PM
Colby Trane from Chelsea

I'm also very interested in the effects of WiFi radio waves on the brain especially on young children.

Sep. 28 2010 12:30 PM
Bhinish from New Jersey

Please talk about bluetooth headsets, and also, is it alright to hold the phones in belt clips? Am I at risk for prostate cancer?

Sep. 28 2010 12:30 PM
Norman from NYC

She's saying first we don't have enough time to see the development of cancer (which is true) but then she says we've already seen cancers from cell phones.

Sep. 28 2010 12:29 PM
Joanna from Brooklyn

Yes, Wifi affects!

Sep. 28 2010 12:29 PM
ross from brooklyn

What kind of earpieces are best to use? Is any earpiece better than handheld, or are the wires connected to the earpieces just conducting radiation directly into our ears?

Sep. 28 2010 12:29 PM
hector from East Village

Can you please give us information about bluetooth since that is what most headsets use??

Sep. 28 2010 12:29 PM
JT from LI

We have WiFi everywhere. Is that a similar problem?

Sep. 28 2010 12:28 PM
Scott Silverman from Yonkers

You talk about headphones - but what about bluetooth headphones? Are there dangers with them?

Sep. 28 2010 12:28 PM

What about the effects of wifi in people's homes? Are there studies showing any negative effects of those radio waves floating around everywhere?

Sep. 28 2010 12:28 PM
Bill C from Metuchen, NJ

Please comment on the use of cell/smartphones for text messaging. Thanks!

Sep. 28 2010 12:28 PM
John from NJ

Should we be using lead lined pouches to carry our phones?

Sep. 28 2010 12:27 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Cordless phones have the same possible problems as cell phones.

Oh noes! That is all I have now, being able to move around while talking is sooo convenient.

Plus, I currently have a PC and two base stations on my work area.

Do the small charging bases give off microwave radiation? Do each of the satellite phones on their little chargers?

Sep. 28 2010 12:27 PM
Chuck from Brooklyn

What should we do?

Always use headsets?

What about those cell towers on buildings?

Regards and freaked!

Sep. 28 2010 12:27 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Norman: I didn't specify, but I was thinking in terms of cumulative exposure, whether interrupted or not. In any case, the degree of the effect of radiation decreases according to the square of the distance, so it drops off pretty sharply. But carrying a cell phone around in your pocket all day means it's not at much of a distance.

Can you provide a link to the Spectrum article? I couldn't find it when I searched their site.

Sep. 28 2010 12:27 PM
Shar in Az from AZ

This guest sounds like someone I would hear in the middle of the night on Coast to Coast. What are her credentials? Is she a naprapath using the title of Dr? The term radiation is misleading, it is not "ionizing radiation" as with x-rays. Or, put this another way, maybe I shouldn't listen to the radio any more, we are talking about radio waves afterall.

Sep. 28 2010 12:26 PM
sam from NYC

The main website of the guest is not working as of 12:25pm so you have to go to

Sep. 28 2010 12:26 PM
t-po from nyc

This American Life did a story on this a bit back in their "urban myths" story, the reporter that wrote the GQ story gave a very powerful, intelligent case. Anyone doubting this is just deceiving themselves. He addresses the issues of affects on children's brains in detail. I found it more compelling than her case.

Sep. 28 2010 12:26 PM
Norman from NYC

She misquoted the WHO. They didn't say cell phones *cause* cancer.

Here's what Reuters and US News and World Report said about the WHO report:

Health Buzz: Cell Phones' Link to Cancer Unproven
By Megan Johnson
Posted: May 17, 2010

Cell Phone Study Yields Inconclusive Results

Cell phones did not appear to raise brain cancer risk in a new international study of nearly 13,000 users—but researchers aren't letting them off the hook just yet. Conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC, the study yielded inconclusive results after 10 years, Reuters reports.

Here's the Reuters story:

Sep. 28 2010 12:25 PM
Diane from Park Slope

Is there a danger from the WIFI routers we
all seem to have in our homes (or workplaces) for wireless Internet service ??

Sep. 28 2010 12:25 PM
Paul from Astoria

What about wireless routers in the home - always on and nearby.

Sep. 28 2010 12:24 PM

I have two sets of cell towers from two different companies directly above me. My space is right below the roof. Is this dangerous?

Sep. 28 2010 12:22 PM
Beth from NYC

Please ask the guest about cell phone towers and antennas, and if she knows of any demonstrated risk from proximity to them.

Sep. 28 2010 12:21 PM
Richard Campbell from Westfield, NJ

What about Bluetooth? Has anyone studied the radiation from a Bluetooth headset?

Sep. 28 2010 12:21 PM
Helen from NYC

I am an epidemiology student who has an engineering degree as well. I've not heard any convincing EVIDENCE as of yet. Everything that has been said, has Norman pointed out, is not about the science, but rather the political intrigue surrounding this. Political intrigue just shows that people have certain interests to protect, but says nothing about the FACTS

Sep. 28 2010 12:21 PM
Lorna from CT

What about texting?

Sep. 28 2010 12:20 PM
nn from pa

Are there risks to radiation from Bluetooth appliances?

Sep. 28 2010 12:20 PM
Catherine from Rockville Centre

I mostly use my phone on speaker-mode, sometimes resting it on my lap or chest. I find it easier to hear that way than by using headphones. But should I switch to headphones (which I keep losing)?

Sep. 28 2010 12:20 PM
JT from LI

What are the legal ramifications for cell providers and manufacturers if/when this is universally accepted? Will governments move to protect them even though they seem to have hidden this info?

Sep. 28 2010 12:20 PM
Diego from NYC

What about bluetooth headsets?

Sep. 28 2010 12:18 PM
LennieF from Manhattan

I haven't seen the incriminating studies and their controls, BUT, Dr. Davis's status with the national academy of sciences gives her immense credibility. This is the most prestigious body in US science and membership is offered only to persons of the highest status in their own areas.
So, scary as it is, we need to worry here and heed her advice.

Sep. 28 2010 12:18 PM

This is total fear mongering. Cell phones are used by millions of people worldwide. And many have been using them for over 10 years. If cell phone use is so dangerous where is the corresponding increase in brain tumors and other physical problems worldwide. You'd think if there was a real problem there would be a correponding increase in reported diseases.

Sep. 28 2010 12:18 PM
Norman from NYC

WHO said that heavy cell phone use *caused* brain cancer? I think that's stronger than what WHO said. I'm going to look it up.

Sep. 28 2010 12:17 PM
LL from UWS

Thank you for this segment!

Sep. 28 2010 12:17 PM
JT from LI

Are the companies doing research into other ways to transmit calls to cell phones that are safer?

Sep. 28 2010 12:16 PM
Norman from NYC

She's talking about the horse race, not the issues. What are the issues? What's the evidence that cell phones do harm?

Sep. 28 2010 12:15 PM
Michelle from nyc

You're surprised there was no cell phone testing prior to going to market, really? There was all kinds of hub bub when they were released about their safety, or question of.

So glad the phone part of my iPhone a la ATT never works in NYC, and I never keep it on my person.

BioPro makes products that are supposed to counter act the microwaves of cell phones.

Sep. 28 2010 12:15 PM
Bobby G from East Village

What about if you have cell phone antennas on a roof right across the street from your window?

Sep. 28 2010 12:13 PM
lisa from Brooklyn Heights

I recently moved into a co-op building (6th floor top level) that has two cell towers. Unfortunately we discover that the towers are located right over our apartment less than 15-20 feet away. I'm concern about long term effects for adults as well as the issues that may arise now that we are beginning to plan for a family.

Sep. 28 2010 12:13 PM
Jim from NJ

What are the long term effects on kids cell use?

Kids seem to be texting 24/7.

Sep. 28 2010 12:13 PM
mike from NYC

"We used to think that non-ionizing radiation has no biological we do not." Please cite the literature or I can't believe the opinion you express. Sounds interesting and I don't trust the cell phone companies, but why should I trust you?

Sep. 28 2010 12:12 PM
Gary from the Village

I can't imagine that those little cell phones can be more dangerous than those big microwave towers that make cell phones possible in the first place. Are we all being radiated from the inside whether we use cell phones or not?

Sep. 28 2010 12:12 PM
Norman from NYC

She talks about "concern." What's the peer-reviewed *evidence*?

Sep. 28 2010 12:11 PM
Emma from Brussels

I recently learned that there are eight cell phone antennas on the top of my building. The landlord earns money by allowing the phone companies to place them there. I'm wondering about the health implications of this for the residents on the upper floors.

Sep. 28 2010 12:10 PM
Norman from NYC

To Amy:

According to the IEEE Spectrum, in the best evidence for cell disruption, the disruption wasn't associated with duration of exposure.

Interrupted exposure was just as damaging.

So you can't assume that the putative damage depends on duration of exposure.

Sep. 28 2010 12:08 PM
Norman from NYC

The way to win an environmental debate is to put the burden of proof on the other guy.

If the cell phone companies have to prove that cell phones are safe, they'll never be able to do it.

If the critics have to prove that cell phones are dangerous, they'll never be able to do it.

If they *do* prove cell phones are safe/dangerous, the other side will simply demand a more rigorous standard of evidence.

You can't get absolute proof for anything in science. Just demand absolute proof and you'll never have to give in.

Sep. 28 2010 12:05 PM
J. Neale Chadwick from Williamsburg

Any warnings about always using your laptop in your lap or on your chest (as you lay down)?

Sep. 28 2010 12:03 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The Environmental Working Group has a page w/safety tips for cell phone users ( It includes links to listings of phones w/the amount of radiation they emit & to a PDF "Guide to Safe Cell Phone Use." They do say risks aren't confirmed & that the tips are to stay on the safe side.

To Norman: the appliances you list may emit more radiation than cell phones, but people don't spend anywhere near as much time as close to their electric razors, hair dryers, & blenders as they do to their cell phones.

Sep. 28 2010 12:01 PM
Norman from NYC

The IEEE Spectrum* reviewed the studies of exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

When engineers went to houses and measured electromagnetic radiation, they found that the strongest exposures to humans came from electric razors, hair dryers, and electric blenders.

Does Devra Davis think that electric razors, hair dryers and blenders could be dangerous? Should people stop using them until they're proven safe?

*The magazine of the society for electrical and electronic engineers.

Sep. 28 2010 11:26 AM
Michael from Tarrytown, NY

Having been an industrial hygienist, the concept of threshold limit values has always colored my opinions. When asked my opinion about cell-phone radiation, I usually make the following points:
- As someone in my sixties, I'm not overly concerned (although I rarely use a cell-phone).
- I am very concerned about the affect on young children as even "long-term" studies such as Interphone, are not very long and are based on a ridiculously low number of weekly calls when applied to children.
- In almost all the studies, the study director seems to end by saying that although the results are not definitive, they will be reducing their cell-phone use in some manner. Need we say more?

Sep. 28 2010 11:02 AM

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