New Study on Cell Phone Radiation May Have More People Reaching for the Landline


Amid the crush of media attention on all things radioactive, a new report published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that radiation from our cell phones is yet another very real cause for concern.

The new study, according to Kate Murphy writing for the New York Times, “…said it was unclear whether the changes in the brain — an increase in glucose metabolism after using the phone for less than an hour — had any negative health or behavioral effects. But it has many people wondering what they can do to protect themselves short of (gasp) using a landline.”

Dr. Nora Volkow, the lead investigator of the study and director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, acknowledges the value of cell phones and adds: “I’d never tell people to stop using them entirely.” But obviously, Dr. Volkow is an advocate of limiting cell use when possible – and not to save on your AT&T bill.

A measurable change in the chemical balance of the brain – after a relatively short time on a cell phone – should concern us all. Particularly when many of us, including children, talk on our cell phones for hours everyday.

Robert Kenny, a spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission, responded to Ms. Murphy via e-mail: “As always, we will continue to study this issue and coordinate with our federal partners.” Mr. Kenny’s stock response harkens back to the days when the feds would talk about the “so-called” link between tobacco use and cancer – just before scientists made them acknowledge the facts.

As somebody who has focused his law practice on damages associated with radiation and its impacts on the human body and the environment, I have limited my cell phone use for years and always use the dreaded landline whenever I can. The findings of this study are no surprise to me at all, and the relative lack of concern on the part of the feds is even less of a surprise.

Look, once again the federal government is way behind on an issue involving radiation. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. For example, the natural gas drillers are fracking away and dumping radioactive waste in our rivers and contaminating our drinking water. We are finding radiation from Japan in our milk and rainwater. And trust me, there are going to be problems with radiation exposure from cell phones. Oregon is the first state to require cell phone warnings, but there’s similar legislation being proposed in Maine and other places. Remember, at one time, cigarette packs weren’t emblazoned with health warnings.

The NYT piece takes a somewhat bemused tone, but at least the study is getting noticed. Read about it, complete with steps to avoid radiation, here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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