My Letter, Sort of (Cell Phones and Children)

My husband called me from work this morning and asked me if I had read Time magazine. I said,”Yes.” “Did you read it thoroughly?” he asked.  He told me one of his colleagues saw my letter.  I’m grateful they published any letter with a caution about cell phone use and children, but their editing of my writing was quite loose.  No wonder I didn’t notice “my” letter. 

What Time Published [Jan 16].

The Year Ahead.
In “Fearing Well,” Jeff Wise tells us what we should–and shouldn’t–worry about in 2012 [Jan.9].  But he underestimates potential dangers of cell-phone use by relying on “numerous studies[that] have found no convincing evidence of health risks.” Sometimes we need to be more fearful of the long-term danger of low-level exposure (and more skeptical when large corporations are putting out information that is helpful to their bottom line).  In the case of cell phones’ non-ionizing radiation and its possible effects–particularly on our children’s developing brains and bodies–this fear could be crucial.”
–Melissa Levine, Irvine, Calif.

The letter I actually sent in: 

This is in regards to Jeff Wise’s article on page 36 of January 9, 2012 print edition, his comment on cell phones:

Dear Editor,
I would say this article by Jeff Wise proves his point.   He is underestimating without doing the research that the use of cell phones is safe. I think he is “misjudging risk” by relying on vague knowledge of studies without considering that many of those studies were conducted by a trillion dollar industry with vested interests.
    The World Health Organization last May classified RF radiation as a class 2b possible carcinogenic.  Their decision was partly based on “high quality” studies by Dr. Hardell which showed an increased risk of “gliomas” (brain cancer).  There are actually numerous studies by independent scientists (peer reviewed and replicated) which show risks and biological effects from RF radiation to people and animals.   These include a weakening of the blood brain barrier which  causes it to be more permeable and allows toxins to enter (thus possibly contributing to dementia) and double strand DNA breakage.  Dr. Adlkofer who was head of the EU funded REFLEX studies (which found genotoxic effects from RF) said in a recent talk at Harvard that the FCC limits, which the public looks to for guidance, are based on “pseudo science” as they don’t take into account long term effects.
In contrast to what Mr. Wise says, most people do not “fear” cell phones or the radiation they emit.  They even, unfortunately, allow their young children to use them and as Mr. Wise apparently does not know children are more vulnerable to RF radiation; it goes deeper into their brains; their cells divide more rapidly; they absorb more of it as they have more liquid in their brain.
    Australia recently reported there has been a 21% increase in brain cancer and brain cancer has overtaken leukemia as the highest type of cancers among children.
So Mr. Wise’s points are correct: Sometimes we need to be more fearful (or I would say work to educate ourselves even when large corporations are putting out incorrect information) of these less immediate or visible dangers.  In the case of RF radiation and and its  possible effects, not only on our children, but on future generations,  this could be crucial.

Melissa Levine,
Irvine, CA

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