Published by the National Health Federation, this November 208, 2011 article written by Devra Davis:
For many young women today, tucking cell phones in the bra has become a cool, hip way to have simple access to these essential devices. They can jog, drive, shop, or sit in darkened movie theatres, quickly responding to tingled vibrations at their breast. Most of us have no idea that cell phones are small two-way microwave radios that should not be kept directly on the body.
As the month of breast cancer awareness, October finds the media packed with warnings about the disease. What is missing from this welcome public attention is the fact that the ways in which some people are using their phones today could increase their risk of developing breast cancer and other diseases. Cell phone’s microwave radiation seeps directly into soft fatty tissue of the breast. That is not a good thing.
Someone wise once said that there is no cure for stupidity, but ignorance can be cured with knowledge. I sure hope that this is the case. It’s too late for Donna Jayne, a young active mother of three from Southern California. For more than six years, this vegetarian, a runner, drove her children everywhere with her cell phone tucked into her sports bra. She used her hands-free headset and was on the phone for four to five hours a day. Often, her chest or ear would redden; but she thought little of it. This Spring, she developed a malignant tumor right where her phone had sat on her breast. No one in her family has ever had breast cancer. Could all this be a coincidence? Of course. But her doctor and those of four other women under the age of forty with similar stories are deeply concerned that cell phones can cause cancer in women who store them at their breasts.
In San Francisco and Burlingame, California, manufacturers will soon be required to tell people before they buy phones that they emit microwave radiation and provide the estimated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for each phone. As it stands now, warnings about keeping phones off the body can only be found after phones are purchased – in packaging that often gets tossed. Even the American Cancer Society and Federal Communications Commission websites advise that using a headset or speakerphone substantially reduces radiation exposure, as does holding a phone away from the body when it is connected to a signal.
Within the cell phone industry and government heated debates are occurring about what information should be given to the public and when. Some are arguing that there is no safe way to place a phone next to the body for hours at a time. The multi-trillion-dollar global Cellular Telecommunications Industry (CTIA) contends that publicizing information on radiation levels will mislead people into thinking that lower SAR phones are safer. After the City of San Francisco passed the “right to know” ordinance requiring that people be provided with information about radiation that emanates from cell phones before they purchase the phones, the CTIA sued, claiming that people will become confused if they learn about the levels of cell phone radiation before making a purchase.
In fact, all smart phones today do come with warnings. The iPhone 4 manual, for example, says that if the phone is kept in the pocket, “FCC guidelines for safe exposure can be exceeded,” and that “users are responsible for protecting themselves.” The Blackberry Torch warns people to use hands-free devices and keep the device “at least 0.98 inches (25 mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers) when the Blackberry device is turned on and connected to the wireless network.”