Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family
By Devra Davis
Dutton (Penguin Group Inc.), 2010
There are certain patterns that are as dependable as human nature. Devra Davis reviews a few examples to illustrate. Smoking was not believed to be hazardous to your health a hundred years ago. Experts could lay out scientific reasons why not. They could point to groups of people who had smoked for ten years with no adverse health effects and they could point to all the other experts who agreed with them because all the experts are never wrong. The same pattern played over again in the 1950s with X-rays. Again, all the experts can’t be wrong. Then better science comes along and, well, all the experts were wrong.
Any particular instance of the pattern comes to an end when two things happen. First, people come along who are better than average at recognizing the implications of the evidence. Second, some of those same people must have the character to withstand being treated like idiots because they dare to question all the experts.
Because the human race isn’t getting any smarter over time, multiple cases of this pattern continue as I write this. Disconnect focuses on one situation specifically and I promise you won’t like it. Could it be that everybody’s favorite toy is hazardous to our health? You know what I’m talking about. Cell phones.
At this point I’ve probably lost half my readers and those who remain are experiencing suicidal thoughts or borderline incontinence, but get a grip and forge on. A number of common arguments are brought up by those who can’t stand the thought of losing their toy. Two arguments are that the human race has always been exposed to radiation, and that cell phones don’t heat human tissue. Humans have always been exposed to radiation but never at the high levels we’re exposed to today. Cell phones may not significantly heat human tissue but that doesn’t prove no damage is done.
The evidence from independent researchers is starting to pile up. Russian scientists and numerous others have all clearly established that cell phone radiation does damage DNA. If you don’t need your DNA then you can ignore this, but if you care about an increased risk of cancer you might want to think about that. In addition to DNA damage, studies have been done with test animals where dye is injected into the blood and spreads to every point in the body except the brain, due to the blood-brain barrier. When the animals are then exposed to cell phone radiation, that barrier breaks down and dye invades the brain as well. While most of this has been uncovered by independent researchers, Davis tells us of a few cases where even industry researchers have turned against their masters and come out with awkward information about cell phones.
On the other side of the issue there are many studies showing no harm from cell phones. Pretty much all of those studies were done by the cell phone industry. There are many easy ways to rig tests and big industry is very good at that. Human heads are unrealistically modeled. Large numbers of people who barely use their phones are included in studies. Sometimes data is “massaged.” Short-term studies are done which can’t possibly show long-term effects. Large industries routinely do this, whether the issue is soy, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or cell phones. They have a lot of money so they can generate a lot of studies and then point to all those studies that “prove” safety.
I have said before that the truth is not up to a vote. This is why it can never be. The vote can be bought and often is. In spite of all those studies that claim safety, the cell phone industry buries a warning in the paperwork that comes with every cell phone. You probably missed it. It is in very fine print.
There is another industry, however, that is starting to question all the declarations of safety. The Austrian insurance industry has stopped covering health damage due to cell phones. The Stirling Group of Lloyds of London has refused to insure cell phone manufacturers against health-related claims. There are increasing signs that the pattern for cell phones is coming to an end.
This book is not as depressing as you might imagine. Davis has a great sense of humor, replaying scenes from the old TV show “Get Smart” where Maxwell Smart is trying to explain to the phone operator that he is talking to her on an unlisted shoe. Devra Davis doesn’t claim that anything has been absolutely proven either way but there is enough evidence to raise concern. She does suggest ways to reduce your risk. One suggestion is using a headset, however I have heard from a number of other sources that headsets still channel the radiation into your skull, so they don’t help. Using it in speaker mode and going back to using old-fashioned land lines for long conversations are probably your best bet.
I’m sure the industry would like to drop a cone of silence around Davis and everyone like her. While most may not like the message here, I am abnormal and do like it. This book radiates a combination of intelligence, courage, and humor. That means the thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2011.