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Study suggests cellphone radiation weakens bone

October 28, 2009 |  6:00 am

Men who wear their cellphones on a belt for many years may have decreased bone density in the pelvic area, according to a new study.

Holster The operative word here is "may." Dozens of cellphone safety studies have suggested that long-term use may expose people to high enough levels of radio frequency energy to cause such health problems as cancerous and benign brain tumors and behavior problems in children. The new study on bone weakening is hardly convincing. Researchers in Turkey examined the bone density in the upper rims of the pelvis of 150 men who carried their cellphones on a belt. The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours a day for an average of six years.

Bone density was compared on the side where the men wore their phones and on the opposite side. The study showed a slight reduction in bone density on the side where the men carried the phones. The difference was not statistically significant, however -- meaning it could be due to chance. But the researchers pointed out that the men were fairly young and that further bone weakening might occur over time. The study was published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

Studies that link cellphone use to health problems have not been conclusive. However, at some point, one has to wonder if it's prudent to make some modest changes to reduce the potential risk. For example, some experts suggest using a headset in order to keep the phone away from the head and not wearing a cellphone on a belt or in a pocket that is in contact with the body. Pregnant women, for example, are urged to keep their phones away from their abdomens. Perhaps young children, whose brains are still developing, should not use a cellphone on a regular basis.

More safety studies on cellphones are forthcoming, and manufacturers are working on lowering the levels of radiation emitted by phones. But, until then, taking precautions to keep phones a bit of a distance from the body may be sensible for heavy cellphone users. 

-- Shari Roan

Photo: A cellphone holder is shaped like a holster for a gun. Credit: Tony Maben  /  AP

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Comments (8)

I’m a physicist and I wrote a blog that compares cell phone radiation to the radiation leaked from microwave ovens. Please check it out:

http://www.peterdolph.com/2009/08/will-microwave-radiation-give-you_19.html

Cell phones emit and receive microwave radiation. The adverse health effects of this have been well researched and known for years. To learn more about the dangers, visit The Bio-Initiative Report an Internet site with strong scientific evidence www.bioinitiative.org

The reason you test for "statistical significance" is to find "statistical significance."

The results are meaningless.

So definitive...the awesome POWER of real journalism. MUCH like those adverts suggesting 'A diet high in fiber, low fat (as compared with 8 pieces of bacon, 6 sausages, greasy fried potatoes, 4 eggs, and 4 pieces of heavily buttered toast) MAY, it is BELIEVED, HELP, POSSIBLY REDUCE, the imminent massive heart attack.' Yep, I can carry RADIATION devices next to my body, providing it's NOT kryptonite, and avoid any remote possibility of cancer, growing in my soft delicate tissues. Children are especially 'hardened' against this danger, because mommy 'believes.'

Not statistically significant means that there is no real difference. It is irresponsible to report it otherwise, or even to bring it up. It is also irresponsible to ignore all the other studies that show no health effect.

Actually there is a lot of evidence that was conducted in Sweden that cell phone usage increase the likelihood of brain cancer and lesion growth over a period of usage f fifteen years. It is amazing that Hollywood does not pick this up in a film so that the public can fully see the threat of using their cell phones. Brain tumors are about to explode , and it will do mainly to cell phone usage. Teenagers are using their cell phones at least fifteen hours a week. Usage should be brought down to no more then an hour a week. Scientific study should be conducted immediately with people who use cell phone one hour a week versus ten hours a week and then twenty hours a week. I think we know the conclusion but lets make it scientific.

Recently I had to be on the cell a lot (using a headphone). I stopped the day I noticed there was something weird going on with my eardrum in the ear where I put the headphone. (Since resolved, I think.)

That led to my reading online about cell phones.

Fortunately, I'm not in a position where I "need" to be available by cell phone all the time, nor depend on it as my main phone line.

We live in a world where profit rules -- do you really want to risk cancer and bone loss for the benefit of the telecomm companies and other corporate paymasters who want everything to move continually faster so they can supply the new machines?

Get a proper headphone (blue tooth or wired one with tubing at the end). Do not put a cell phone to your ear. Use the speakerphone if you don't have your headphone.

If possible, keep your phone turned off when you carry it.

Do not linger on cell phone conversations.

A few years ago, in a social context, I met a man in his early 50s who had
just nursed his father to a cancer death that the son thought had been caused by cell phone use. The son was agitated; wanted everyone to know what he had learned. He was intense, and what he was saying was disturbing. It was easy to think that he was a little disturbed.

But now I think chances are 50-50 that we will eventually find out that cell phones are terribly damaging to our health.

It seems to me that the above post by Ms. Roan contains way too many "may"s.

This is serious stuff.

I just looked up the journal article. Findings:

"Results: The mean dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry values measured from group 1 were slightly lower than those from group 2, but there was no statistically significant difference between the groups (P > 0.05)."

LA Times: you're an idiot.



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