“A Cell Phone on Your Hip Weakens Your Bones”

Research suggests that wearing a cell phone on your hip may weaken an area of your pelvis. Using an X-ray technique used in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with osteoporosis, researchers measured pelvic bone density in 150 men who regularly carried their cell phones attached to their belts.

The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours each day; they had used cell phones for an average of six years.

The researchers found that bone mineral density was lowered on the side of the pelvis where the mobile phones were carried. The findings raise the possibility that bone density could be adversely affected by electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones.


WebMD October 27, 2009

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery September 2009;20(5):1556-60

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

When you clip a cell phone to your belt, keeping it conveniently close by, it likely never crosses your mind that this could be harming your bones. Or, worse yet, affect your fertility -- particularly if you're a man.

Previous studies have found that cell phone radiation affects men's sperm count, and the quality and motility of their sperm, and this may be a far greater issue than its effect on bone density. Men in particular tend to carry their cell phones on their belts, in close proximity of their reproductive organs. One such study, published in PLoS ONE, found that:

"RF-EMR in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation by human spermatozoa, decreasing the motility and vitality of these cells while stimulating DNA base adduct formation and, ultimately DNA fragmentation. These findings have clear implications for the safety of extensive mobile phone use by males of reproductive age, potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and wellbeing of their offspring."

In addition, you have a number of other sensitive organs in that general area, including liver, kidneys, colon and bladder -- all of which are susceptible to radiation.

This latest study published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, found that after carrying a cell phone on their hip for an average of 15 hours a day over the course of about six years, male subjects' bone mineral density was slightly lower on the side of the pelvis where they carried their phones.

The researchers found the reduction in bone density was not yet statistically significant, but I say "not yet” because the men in the study were young -- their average age was 32. And this is only for bone density! There was no measurement of the important intercellular disruptions that are impaired by wearing a cell phone on your belt.

So what would happen if they carried their cell phone on their hip for another 10, 20 or 30 years?

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig who finds out.

It's important to realize that as long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. So wearing a cell phone on your hip for 15 hours a day is giving your body nearly continuous radiation exposure.

That electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones can cause deterioration in your bone density is a major warning sign of just how dangerous this new technology can be. And although it may seem like cell phones have been around “forever,” keep in mind that cell phones have only been used heavily for about 15 years.

And given that many chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis and cancer, can take 30 or 40 years to show up, it’s too soon to know what health effects lie in wait for heavy cell phone users.

Have You Seen the Science on Cell Phone Dangers?

Cell phones are used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide.

Cell phones use a subset of radio frequency radiation that fall in the microwave range to transmit voice data, and the dangers of consistent exposure to these microwaves have been known since at least 1998. Yet few have been willing to accept the evidence, and the FCC and the cellular industry has followed in the footsteps of the tobacco industry, ignoring the risks.

It’s worth remembering that the telecommunication industry is even BIGGER than drug cartels, and they have far more influence.

My belief is that this exponential increase in this type of radiation exposure is far more serious a threat than even tobacco ever was.

The first major indication that cell phones might be a health hazard came out of a massive, $28-million research project funded by the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). To the industry’s surprise and dismay, the results of the study came to the opposite conclusion from the one they were hoping for.

The study's results included findings of:

A nearly 300 percent increase in the incidence of genetic damage when human blood cells were exposed to radiation in the cellular frequency band

A significant increase in cell phone users’ risk of brain tumors at the brain’s outer edge, on whichever side the cell phone was held most often

A 60 percent greater chance of acoustic neuromas, a tumor affecting the nerve that controls hearing, among people who had used cell phones for six years or more

A higher rate of brain cancer deaths among handheld mobile phone users than among car phone users (car phones are mounted on the dashboard rather than held next to your head)

Brain Tumors, DNA Damage and More

Earlier this year, meanwhile, a recent review of studies, published in the journal Surgical Neurology, assessed whether there was evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor.

In order to be included in the analysis, studies were required to have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, included participants who had used cell phone for 10 or more years, and analyzed the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage.

In all 11 long-term epidemiologic studies were reviewed and the results showed that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.

Few people realize this, but brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer killer in children.

Australia has seen an increase in pediatric brain cancers of 21 percent in just one decade. This is consistent with studies showing a 40 percent brain tumor increase across the board in Europe and the U.K. over the last 20 years.

And around this time last year, the head of the prominent University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute -- Dr. Ronald B. Herberman -- issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

In addition to the widespread concern about brain cancer, scientists have found that radio waves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:

Harm your blood cells and cause cellular changes

Damage your DNA

Cause nerve-cell damage

Accelerate and contribute to onset of autism and trigger Alzheimer’s disease

Damage your eyes

Cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches

As it stands, cell phone use is only increasing, and it seems most people are reluctant to limit their cell phone use at all. But I suspect this is only because most people are not aware of the risks … or don’t believe them to be true.

Are Some Cell Phones Safer Than Others?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a new database for consumers ranking over 1,000 cell phones by the Specific Absorption Rate, known as the SAR value.

The SAR value is a measure of the power of the cell phone and its potential for heating tissues.

Within days of the EWG launching the new SAR value database, almost 500,000 people had accessed the database, indicating very encouraging new interest by consumers in cell phone safety.

But simply choosing a phone with a lower SAR value does not guarantee the phone is safe. Camilla Rees, founder of www.Electromagnetichealth.org, explains:

“It is important consumers realize that the SAR value, while providing information for comparison purposes between phones, is very limited in its usefulness as a measure of ‘safety.’ We are greatly concerned that people may be turning to the EWG database in droves not understanding just how limited a measure the SAR value is.”

Why is the SAR value not an accurate measure of safety?

The SAR value is only comparing the heating effect of different phones and does not give an indication that a cell phone is ‘safe.’
The power, or heating effect, of the phone is only one of many possible factors impacting cell phone ‘safety.’ Exposures to the radiation from the cell phone at non-heating levels have been linked to many serious biological effects, and the SAR value is not capturing anything about these harmful non-thermal exposures.
SAR values are reported to the FCC by the manufacturer and have been known to vary from the reported number by a factor of two across models of the same phone.
The SAR value varies with the source of exposure and the person using the phone. For example, if you are in a rural area or in an elevator or a car, where the cell phone uses more power, your brain will get a greater exposure from the higher power required in these instances.
Holding the phone in a slightly different way can actually render the worst SAR value phone better than the best SAR value phone.
SAR values have been created based on simulations of exposure in a plexiglass head filled with fluid, not a human head, and many scientists consider them to be inaccurate and irrelevant at determining actual biological effects.
As Rees points out, and I wholeheartedly agree:

“Physical distance of the phone from your brain, and less usage of the cell phone overall, more so than simply choosing a phone with a lower SAR value, is probably a far better insurance policy.”

Cell Phone Safety Tips for You and Your Family

Remember, the damage from cell phone exposure will take many years to surface, and there are rarely any initial symptoms, just like smoking and lung cancer.

At this point, you cannot completely avoid wireless radiation from all sources, such as WI-FI, since they’re so pervasive. Getting rid of your cell phone altogether can help protect you. But even if you don’t want to take that step, you can still minimize your exposure and reduce your risks by following these common sense guidelines:

Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults for a number of reasons.

First, their thinner skull bones allow for greater penetration of radiation. The radiation can enter all the way into the midbrain, where tumors are more deadly. In addition, children's cells reproduce more quickly, so they're more susceptible to aggressive cell growth. Their immune systems are also not as well developed as adults. Lastly, children face a far greater lifetime exposure.

The following image, used with permission from the book Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution, clearly shows the differences in depth of penetration between adults and young children.

Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters.

Use A Land Line At Home And At Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.

Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

It's important to realize that portable phones are also highly problematic. Recent research has linked portable house phones to an increased heart rate in people who are electromagnetically sensitive. In some individuals, portable phone exposure as much as doubled their heart rate in double-blind tests. This groundbreaking research has been accepted for publication and is expected to come out around February or March of next year, along with a large number of other studies focusing on the mechanisms of action to explain the biological damage we see from this type of radiation.

If you must use a portable home phone, consider using very early non-DECT versions of portable phones. Unfortunately, due to the lack of labeling, the only way to know for sure whether the type of phone you have is safe, is to measure the amount of radiation emitted. Www.emfsafetystore.com offers a helpful summary of the various meters recommended.

Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit. And the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off When Not in Use: As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.

Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.

It's worth noting that your cell phone manual will actually tell you the minimum safety range of operation for your phone, even when not in use. For example, the iPhone states the phone must be at least 5/8 inch away from your body or ear for "safe operation." Almost all of them state that the cell phone "should NOT be worn or carried on the body." You can find more information about this in the white paper Cellphones and Brain Tumors -- 15 Reasons for Concern., page 16.

Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radiation and transmitting radiation, not only directly to your brain, but also all along your torso.

The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

Use a Shielded Case: There are some shielded cases on the market, but you could also purchase a certain kind of EMF-shielding fabric, available at www.emfsafetystore.com. Making a pouch from this fabric to put inside your regular case can help shield up to 99.9 percent of the radiation emitted if you cover the entire phone and antenna.

If you wrap most of the phone but leave the antenna out, you'd still achieve a significant reduction in radiation, but it would not be nearly as effective as wrapping up the entire phone. This is a particularly useful solution to significantly reduce unnecessary radiation exposure if you simply must carry the phone on your body.

Dr. Mercola