Does Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?

Does Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?
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Do mobile phones cause brain tumors or not? Whenever there’s a trillion-dollar industry involved—whether it’s Big Food, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, or Big Telecom—there’s so much money involved that the science can get manipulated.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When it comes to the potential human health effects of cell phone use, sure, if you text excessively, you might end up with a crick in your neck, or even a broken neck for you or someone you hit, if you do it while driving. On the other hand, think of the countless lives that have been saved on the road, because people are now able to so quickly phone in emergencies.

But, what about cancer? Since the turn of the century, there’ve been studies suggesting up to a doubling of brain tumor risk with long-term cell phone use on the side of your head where you use it to talk. That’s important, since the radiation only really penetrates a few inches into your head. Looking from the back of someone’s head or from the top, you can see why you might develop cancer on the one side of your head, over the other.

Since it’s such a local effect, you can see why there are recommendations for using like the speaker function or using a hands-free headset, which can reduce brain exposure by a factor of 100 or more, and this includes Bluetooth headsets. This may be particularly important in children, who have thinner skulls.

Yeah, but cell phone radiation isn’t like nuclear radiation; it doesn’t damage DNA directly, like gamma rays from an atomic bomb or something. Ah, but it does appear to be able to damage DNA indirectly by generating free radicals. Out of 100 studies that looked at that, 93 confirmed these oxidative effects of the kind of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation that comes out of cell phones. Okay, but does that oxidative stress translate out into DNA damage? Most studies found it did, finding signs of genotoxicity—damage to our genes, our DNA, our chromosomes. Yeah, but a lot of those studies were in petri dishes or lab animals. I’m less interested in whether Mickey or Minnie are at risk; what about brain tumors in people?

Yes, some population studies found increased cancer risk; other studies did not. Hmm, I wonder if the source of funding of those studies had anything to do with it. Some of the studies were funded by cell phone companies. Researchers suspected that studies would be less likely to show an effect if they were funded by the telecommunications industry, which has the obvious vested interest in portraying the use of cell phones as safe.

So, they ran the numbers and surprise, surprise, found that the studies funded exclusively by industry were indeed substantially less likely to report significant effects. Most of the independently funded studies showed an effect; most of the industry-funded studies did not—in fact, had about ten times lower odds of finding an adverse effect from cell phone use.

That’s even worse than the drug industry! Studies sponsored by Big Pharma about their own products only had about four times the odds of favoring the drug, compared to independent researchers, though Big Tobacco still reigns supreme when it comes to Big Bias.

Why do research articles on the health effects of secondhand smoke reach different conclusions? Well, turns out studies funded by the tobacco industry had a whopping 88 times the odds of concluding it was not harmful; so, ten or so times for telecom puts it more towards the drug industry end of the bias spectrum.

There’s conflicts of interest on both sides of the debate, though—if not financial, then at least intellectual, where it’s human nature to be biased towards evidence that supports your personal position. And so, you’ll see flimsy science, like this, published where there appears to be a “disturbingly” straight line between the states with the most brain tumors, and the states with the most cell phone subscriptions. But, come on, one can think of lots of reasons why states like New York and Texas might have more brain tumors and cell phones than the Dakotas, that have nothing to do with cell phone radiation.

Sometimes, you might even see outright fraud, with allegations that academic researchers that authored two of those genotoxicity papers—and this very review—were involved in scientific misconduct, which they deny, pointing out that their lead accuser turned out to be a lawyer working for the telecom industry, and on and on.

Whenever there’s a trillion-dollar industry involved, whether it’s the food industry or the tobacco industry, the drug industry or the telecom industry, there’s so much money involved that the science can get manipulated.

Take the nuclear energy industry. “[D]ecades of…high-level, institutional…cover-up[s]” as to “the health consequences of…Chernobyl,” for example, with the official estimates of resulting health problems a hundred or even a thousand times lower than estimates from independent researchers. Was it just 4,000 who would eventually die from it, or nearly a million people? It depends who you ask, and who happens to be funding whoever you’re asking. That’s why, when it comes to cancer, all eyes turn to the IARC, the official World Health Organization body that independently, and objectively, tries to determine what is and is not carcinogenic. We’ll find out what they concluded about cell phones, next.

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Icons created by Hopkins, Delwar Hossain, Daniel DeLorenzo, Alexandr Lavreniuk, Sea Poh Lin, Kimmi Studio, Alina Oleynik, and Sumana Chamrunworakiat from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Erik Wilde. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When it comes to the potential human health effects of cell phone use, sure, if you text excessively, you might end up with a crick in your neck, or even a broken neck for you or someone you hit, if you do it while driving. On the other hand, think of the countless lives that have been saved on the road, because people are now able to so quickly phone in emergencies.

But, what about cancer? Since the turn of the century, there’ve been studies suggesting up to a doubling of brain tumor risk with long-term cell phone use on the side of your head where you use it to talk. That’s important, since the radiation only really penetrates a few inches into your head. Looking from the back of someone’s head or from the top, you can see why you might develop cancer on the one side of your head, over the other.

Since it’s such a local effect, you can see why there are recommendations for using like the speaker function or using a hands-free headset, which can reduce brain exposure by a factor of 100 or more, and this includes Bluetooth headsets. This may be particularly important in children, who have thinner skulls.

Yeah, but cell phone radiation isn’t like nuclear radiation; it doesn’t damage DNA directly, like gamma rays from an atomic bomb or something. Ah, but it does appear to be able to damage DNA indirectly by generating free radicals. Out of 100 studies that looked at that, 93 confirmed these oxidative effects of the kind of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation that comes out of cell phones. Okay, but does that oxidative stress translate out into DNA damage? Most studies found it did, finding signs of genotoxicity—damage to our genes, our DNA, our chromosomes. Yeah, but a lot of those studies were in petri dishes or lab animals. I’m less interested in whether Mickey or Minnie are at risk; what about brain tumors in people?

Yes, some population studies found increased cancer risk; other studies did not. Hmm, I wonder if the source of funding of those studies had anything to do with it. Some of the studies were funded by cell phone companies. Researchers suspected that studies would be less likely to show an effect if they were funded by the telecommunications industry, which has the obvious vested interest in portraying the use of cell phones as safe.

So, they ran the numbers and surprise, surprise, found that the studies funded exclusively by industry were indeed substantially less likely to report significant effects. Most of the independently funded studies showed an effect; most of the industry-funded studies did not—in fact, had about ten times lower odds of finding an adverse effect from cell phone use.

That’s even worse than the drug industry! Studies sponsored by Big Pharma about their own products only had about four times the odds of favoring the drug, compared to independent researchers, though Big Tobacco still reigns supreme when it comes to Big Bias.

Why do research articles on the health effects of secondhand smoke reach different conclusions? Well, turns out studies funded by the tobacco industry had a whopping 88 times the odds of concluding it was not harmful; so, ten or so times for telecom puts it more towards the drug industry end of the bias spectrum.

There’s conflicts of interest on both sides of the debate, though—if not financial, then at least intellectual, where it’s human nature to be biased towards evidence that supports your personal position. And so, you’ll see flimsy science, like this, published where there appears to be a “disturbingly” straight line between the states with the most brain tumors, and the states with the most cell phone subscriptions. But, come on, one can think of lots of reasons why states like New York and Texas might have more brain tumors and cell phones than the Dakotas, that have nothing to do with cell phone radiation.

Sometimes, you might even see outright fraud, with allegations that academic researchers that authored two of those genotoxicity papers—and this very review—were involved in scientific misconduct, which they deny, pointing out that their lead accuser turned out to be a lawyer working for the telecom industry, and on and on.

Whenever there’s a trillion-dollar industry involved, whether it’s the food industry or the tobacco industry, the drug industry or the telecom industry, there’s so much money involved that the science can get manipulated.

Take the nuclear energy industry. “[D]ecades of…high-level, institutional…cover-up[s]” as to “the health consequences of…Chernobyl,” for example, with the official estimates of resulting health problems a hundred or even a thousand times lower than estimates from independent researchers. Was it just 4,000 who would eventually die from it, or nearly a million people? It depends who you ask, and who happens to be funding whoever you’re asking. That’s why, when it comes to cancer, all eyes turn to the IARC, the official World Health Organization body that independently, and objectively, tries to determine what is and is not carcinogenic. We’ll find out what they concluded about cell phones, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Hopkins, Delwar Hossain, Daniel DeLorenzo, Alexandr Lavreniuk, Sea Poh Lin, Kimmi Studio, Alina Oleynik, and Sumana Chamrunworakiat from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Erik Wilde. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

I’ve got a whole series of cell phone videos queued up, but I’ve spread them out over the next few months so as to not clog up the site with topics that may only be of peripheral interest. I do complete at least the brain cancer piece, though, in my next video: Cell Phone Brain Tumor Risk?

I’ve talked a lot over the years about the corrupting influence of commercial interests on science. See, for example:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

70 responses to “Does Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?

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    1. Power decreases proportional to the square of the distance. So I bet it strongly depends on how close you are to the tower. Don’t give the transmitter a hug.




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        1. I never ‘watch a video’ on any commercial or info-commercial.
          Life is too short for the standard ‘filler-stuffed’ “wait for it (the freakin’ point!)” format.

          I can READ all that needed to be said in far less time.




          1
    2. I read it is 700 feet for those big electric transmission lines (if you are >700 feet you are OK). No idea if this is true or not. Cheers.




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    3. Hi, Drema. It just so happens that, in addition to being a nutritionist, I am also a licensed Amateur Extra Class radio operator. RF safety is part of the exam for FCC Amateur radio licenses at all classes. A cell phone is basically a high-tech two-way radio, and a cell tower is a repeater. It takes incoming signals from cell phones and retransmits them, increasing the range of the signal. That means phones and cell towers have transmitters and receivers for radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Electromagnetic radiation is not ionizing radiation, meaning that it does not ionize atoms, but it can heat body tissues and damage them. It may also be able to cause damage to body tissues in other ways, but more study is needed on that.
      Damage risk from RF exposure depends on three factors: signal strength, proximity, and time of exposure. The stronger the signal, the closer you are to the transmitting antenna, and the longer you are exposed, the more likely it is that damage may occur. You are not crazy to be concerned about living next to a cell tower, because you are spending a lot of time relatively close to it. The FCC does have regulations for the placement of antennas that are designed to protect people from health risks of RF exposure, so the cell tower on your building probably conforms to those rules. I assume there are walls between the apartment interior and the antenna, and the construction materials used in those walls could also offer some protection. Without knowing more about the placement and construction of the apartment and the antennas, I cannot specifically address your question. Unfortunately, though, my answer is that you may be exposed to more EMR than most people by living in close proximity to a cell tower. I hope that helps!




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      1. Hi Christine,
        That’s an informative, well-expressed answer. I would like to add to that as someone at the edge of scientific research in this area. FCC standards are based on the 1990s notion that RF-EMR would only cause tissue heating. It is now well established that there are non-thermal effects induced by low-intensity RF-EMR exposure (this is confirmed by the US National Toxicology Program of the NIH and the US EPA). True, microwave RF-EMR used for wireless communications are non-ionizing (cannot directly remove electrons from atoms), however, that doesn’t mean there are no effects on biological molecules. The scientific evidence now clearly shows that RF-EMR causes oxidative stress at very low levels of exposure – typical exposures from wireless devices. UV is another example of non-ionizing radiation causing some deleterious cellular effects via oxidative stress. Please see my latest paper on the cardiovascular risk of wireless in Eur J Prevent Cardiol for some insights: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28969497
        I recently presented at the Australasian Radiation Protection Society annual conference what the accumulated scientific evidence on wireless radiation shows – 216 out of 242 peer-reviewed experimental studies were positive for oxidative stress.
        As for living near powerful transmitters like cell phone towers …please find a detailed report I did on the scientific evidence of harm (including increased risk of cancer, neurobehavioural problems near transmitters) and the politics involved in this issue: http://www.commsalliance.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/57308/Why-Wireless-Transmitters-Should-be-Away-from-Schools-and-homes.pdf

        As you are an amateur radio operator, I would like to draw an interesting piece of research done by Dr. Samuel Milham MD, former head of epidemiology at Washington State Dept Health who has extensively research on health impact of man-made EMR (natural EMR is different). He found that amateur radio operators have an increased risk of some cancers:
        Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Jan;127(1):50-4.
        Increased mortality in amateur radio operators due to lymphatic and hematopoietic malignancies.
        Milham S Jr1.

        and
        Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Nov;128(5):1175-6.
        Mortality by license class in amateur radio operators.
        Milham S Jr.

        Best regards
        Pri

        Dr. Priyanka (Pri) Bandara
        Consultant Researcher in Environmental Health

        Email: ayubowan@dodo.com.au
        Tel: 0428 820 780
        Mail: P. O. Box 577, Castle Hill, NSW 1765, Australia
        An advisory board member of the Environmental Health Trust, USA (http://ehtrust.org/) and “Doctors for Safer Schools” (http://doctorsforsaferschools.org/)
        Executive Member of Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association (http://www.orsaa.org/)




        1
  1. If this is your first video, or first week of Nutrition Facts exposure, please do read the doctor’s notes and note all the supporting/relevant videos he lists there. Also note that the archive is fully searchable and that all sources are listed for YOU to be able to read the reports yourself and answer many of your other questions.

    There is no prohibition against discussion of dissenting ideas and positions but please realize that this site is about the nutrition facts as found by the latest research, and OFTEN these things will be somewhat different from mainstream and popular belief and thoughts. Also that facts are subject to change depending upon findings, and that nutritional research is a difficult task for many reasons.

    Most common questions and conflicts on very many subjects have been previously addressed and can be found, along with the supporting studies and discussion if one will simply take a few minutes to look for them.

    We are glad to have you here with open mind and ready palate. WFPB works for so many of us, and works well! We hope to support your transition and create a tide of change. Thanks for stopping in.




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    1. Glad to see Dr. Greger addressing this issue of risks associated with the use of wireless communication.
      Please note that the scientists at the ORSAA (http://www.orsaa.org/) have done the most up-to-date review on oxidative stress caused by wireless radiation exposure. 216 peer-reviewed studies out of 242 found oxidative stress. The preliminary findings will be published next month in the Journal of Australasian Radiation Protection Society as: Bandara P and Weller S, Biological Effects of Low-intensity Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation – Time for a Paradigm Shift in Regulation of Public Exposure.
      I am the lead author.




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  2. aside from the “C” effect of cell phones, what about other issues like
    a reduced intelligence, or cell phone radiation altering attention spans,
    thinking, processing, IQ, etc.?

    And most worrisome to me is that I have read that cell phone radiation can
    weaken the blood brain barrier, making it more permeable.




    3
  3. It’s easy to see the bad guy , when they take a gun up in a tower and start shooting innocent people Not so easy to see the bad guy that comes with research papers that was bought and paid for by big business , yet they could affect more people in adverse ways than the guy with the gun . If you like I have lost someone to something that was preventable , if we just had known…..then you have a right to be angry .




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    1. Like you, Ignatius, I have lost someone to something that was preventable. And so, yes, I believe we & others like us, have a right to be angry about it & want to do something constructive about it.




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  4. NutritionFacts.org is a lifeline for people who recognize the need for health information free from the influence of vested interests. Thank you for all you do, Dr. Greger.




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  5. In the last 100 years, we have dramatically increased the amount of electromagnetic radiation around us. Electrical transmission lines, more radio and TV broadcast stations, and now cell phones and wireless internet routers. I have often wondered about the impact on this low level electromagnetic radiation all around us.




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    1. Not just in the last 100 years, but even in the last ten years we have dramatically increased the amount of electromagnetic radiation we get exposed to – and the process has not slowed down but accelerated. Today’s’ cell phones not only put out much higher levels of microwaves than they did ten years ago (I’ve actually measured this) but they use increasingly higher frequencies, that carry inherently more energy and as such have the potential to cause greater damage. And we continually and increasingly expose ourselves to routers, laptops and other wireless devices without a care for the potential harm they might do.

      Fortunately, for the most part we still have a choice about this. Unless someone lives next to a microwave tower, we can dramatically lower our exposure from microwaves, by either using wired, rather than wireless technology, or by at least increasing the distance between where we spend time and the microwave source. Foe example, if you have a router, rather than putting it right next to your computer or where you spend time as many do, put it as far away from where you spend time as you can but where your devices still works works. This can easily reduce exposure by 1000 fold. I had a friend who kept her router in her living room, near where her children played, that put out around 100,000 uW/m2. She relocated it to her garage, and the level dropped to well below 100 in her living room – and all of her wireless devices still worked as well as they did before.




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        1. I use the Extech 480836 EMF Strength Meter 3.5 GHz RF.

          Amazon sells it.

          However, it greatly underestimates microwaves at significantly higher frequencies than its upper limit of 3.5 GHz, and I’ll need to get a different one should 5G come into play, as it will use frequencies up to 40 GHz – over 10 times higher – in the U.S. ( https://gsacom.com/5g-spectrum-bands/ ) . and this model may not detect those higher frequencies at all. I understand that some people like EMF detectors made by Cornet, like the Cornet ED78S EMF RF Meter ElectroMagnetic Detector. Both units sell in the 2 to 3 hundred dollar range.




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    2. Jeff, I also wonder about the effects on wildlife. I’ve heard a lot of stuff out there. I would love to see some real science on the subject.




      1
  6. I remember seeing a picture on the internet of a woman whose breast cancer was right next to where she carried her cell phone so handily in her bra. I guess she wore a lot of low neck shirts for easy access. I once saw a woman who had her phone in her bra and I wanted to tell her about the cancer possibility, but I didn’t.

    In future videos on the subject I hope Dr G discusses the various stones and jewelry people sell that are supposed to do away with the danger. I’ve always been skeptical, but I’d love it if some of them actually work.




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  7. As I see it, the fact that microwaves can cause DNA breakage and cancer – quantitatively – seems relatively unimpressive compared to the effect that other factors – such as eating the Standard American Diet – has on cancer incidence. But whether microwaves can cause cancer does not seem the important point – it simply serves to underscore the fact that microwaves at athermal levels CAN cause potentially harmful biological effects, something the industry has argued for over 40 years that they can not, based on a still widely held but now invalidtated theory, as it has allowed them to go forward full-speed ahead while exponentially increasing public exposure levels without doing any safety studies at all.

    The industry has argued that any microwave exposure that does not cause cooking seems harmless – and therefore any exposure below that level seems safe. Many research studies have disproved this, demonstrating effects at microwaves well below the level needed for heating, but the industry has stuck to this position and their lobbyists have made sure that out government policy makers have as well. This despite the recent U.S government National Toxicology Program study demonstrating that microwaves at cell phone frequencies at very low exposure levels CAN cause cancer. See this article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/debate-renews-over-health-risks-from-cellphone-use-1467829289 that came out 7/7/16 in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, and makes exactly the point I made after the NTP study came out – that I had not seen brought up in any media reports, viz, that the NTP study has confirmed that microwaves can have non-thermal toxicological effects, that this DOES open the proverbial can of worms, with respect to all of the safety studies the microwave industry has NOT done, while exponentially increasing human exposure to microwaves at a wide variety of new and untested frequencies year after year.

    As far as “the potential for more subtle, but potentially much more damaging health effects” goes I’d look to Salford’s replicated results, showing leakage in the blood-brain barrier of rats two weeks after only ONE 2 hour exposure to 915 MHz: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19345073 (Incidentally, I calculated that an SAR of 0.12 mW/kg, where Salford began to detect leakage in the blood-brain barrier in rats, corresponds to about 15,000 microwatts/meter squared, well below the range of levels of exposure one would get in close proximity to most cell phones.) Rather than cancer, I would argue that it seems far more likely that microwave exposures may relate to increases cognitive dysfunctions, such as autism or early onset Alzheimers. With respect to Alzheimer’s, an article published online in Radiology using special MRI software demonstrated the presence of leaky BBB and its association with early Alzheimer’s Disease. (Link to full text and images:http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiol.2016152244 )

    I feel less than confident about the complete and truthful results on the NTP research ever becoming publicly available. Give the long time-delay between the completion of the NTP study, and its projected publication, the priorities of the current administration, and the clout of the cell phone industry, I think an edited and “spun” version seems much more likely.

    And also, different frequencies may have different effects, just as different chemicals have different effects. A study showing that one frequency – say 3.5 Ghz, does not have a particular effect does not say anything about whether another microwave frequency, say 5 GHz, will. Each needs to undergo testing separately.

    Does light cause sunburn and DNA breakage? Well, while infrared light does not, ultraviolet light does. Whether “light” does depends on the frequency used and the intensity of exposure. The same applies to microwaves.

    A lecture on EMF’s/microwaves by Dr. Martin L. Pall (a Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry and Medical Sciences from Washington State University) in which he summarizes relevant research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8ATQF8omdI

    Though he goes quite a bit farther than I would, He crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s. I found his EMF/Microwave pathology thesis unfortunately both plausible and well-supported by scientific research. A lecture worth watching. Why has the release of this information taken so long? If the tobacco industry had the equivalent of a trillion plus dollars to play with back in the 50’s, and as many inroads into government policy as the microwave industry has today (including microwave tower protection laws), and the allegiance of professional politicians, how many extra decades would it have taken for the dangers of tobacco smoking have become evident? Would cigarette packages have warning labels on them, even today?




    10
  8. I was wondering about this subject for a long time. So I have taken steps such as using a speakerphone and headphone most of the time, and not sleeping with my phone charging on the nightstand next to my head. But I still carry the phone in my pant pocket, so I wonder if it affects other parts of the body? Other than this, cell phone is a necessity one cannot live without these days, not to chat like a teenager, but for work and for emergency. The Apple watch now has cellular and so you can talk with … your wrist and leave the phone at home but it will cost an extra $10 a month per phone. And so the best remedy is to eat foods and take supplements that repair or prevent the DNA damages, or otherwise we have to live in a cocoon.




    2
  9. The following article is from Forbes, which is not a reputable medical newspaper, but it was apparently written by a doctor. Read it just for a different angle on the subject. It’s just like we are bombarded with radio, TV, Wifi, broadband, etc. waves these days before the advent of cell phones. Did we have more cancer cases from radiation? It looks like it’s not the case and most if not all cancer cases come from poor nutrition.

    I am not saying that we should not take steps to minimize radiation but we should not panic and worry too much, which can cause cancer and other diseases, something we are trying to avoid in the first place.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/05/19/a-radiation-oncologist-says-everything-you-need-to-hear-about-wifi-and-cancer-risk/#1762bb687267




    2
  10. There was a huge time gap between the start of combustion engines and the time when exhaust fumes started to get a bad reputation. It would have been crazy to worry about the dangers of exhaust fumes back then and no court of law ruled against it, plus everybody was smoking too.




    3
    1. Panchito, good observation. Sure we want to limit emission but we would not be as we are today if we worried too much about coal combustion during the industrial revolution. And elsewhere in Asia for instance where the air is more polluted, people still live longer and healthier than in the USA.




      0
        1. If you live in a city where you have to take the subway to work then the air quality is not that great underground, especially with the small particles from the brake and wheel that the train will kick up every time it stops at a station. But I believe that you can minimize the effects from those pollution via nutrition or otherwise the Japanese would be all sick.

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/25/world/commuting-by-subway-one-square-meter/index.html

          “To date, there is no clear epidemiological indication of abnormal health effects on underground workers and commuters. New York subway workers have been exposed to such air without significant observed impacts on their health, and no increased risk of lung cancer was found among subway train drivers in the Stockholm subway system.”




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    1. Thanks for your comment Federico.

      Here’s what one study had to say in relation to Alzheimer’s disease:

      “The impact of wireless communication on human health is a mater of debate. Since there are widespread concerns regarding the deleterious effects of the exposure to microwaves on human tissues and the subsequent potential threat of carcinogenesis, we can conclude that the current exposure to microwaves during the use of cell phones is not safe for long-term exposure, despite the current scientific opinion. Absorption of the cell phone signal into the brain of children does not exclude serious neuronal damage, as evidenced in rat studies (50). In addition, the increased risk of tumors of the head associated with long-term cell phone use is evident since radiofrequency may cause the blood-brain barrier to leak and to favor the damage of genetic material which consists of common precursors to cancer (51). Accordingly, poor fertility and the increased chance of miscarriage and childhood cancer have been associated with cell phone storage in front pockets. Notably, the data suggested that the hippocampus can be injured by long-term microwave exposure (52), which may result in the impairment of cognitive function due to neurotransmitter disruption. These results suggest that precautionary approach underlying the restrictive use of cell phones constitutes essential appropriate guidelines to follow although additional studies are needed.”

      Hope this answer helps.




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    2. Hi Federico,

      Good question – that topic is actually coming out in the next volume. Are you subscribed to the newsletter? That’s a great way to see the upcoming topics as we get ready to release a new volume!




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  11. I wouldn’t mind these cliff-hangers, except there doesn’t seem to be direct follow up to answer the original question. This happened with the ADHD video a few weeks ago. This is great information, so in the future, why don’t you say when and where to find the “next.”




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    1. hi Alys, new videos come out on mondays, wednesdays and fridays, so “next” video would be lined up for friday oct 6. Under Doctor’s Notes below today’s video you see Dr Greger tells us the next video will be “Cell Phone Brain Tumor Risk” . Tuesdays and Thursdays Dr Greger posts articles.




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  12. Glad to see Dr. Greger taking this vitally important message taking to the people. The evidence for wireless radiation exposure associated with adverse health effects is not only limited to brain cancer although that is the most studied area.

    Please find my publication this week in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology highlighting some of the evidence related to cardiovascular diseases and the importance to reduce exposure. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2047487317734898.

    Sustained systemic oxidative stress appears to be a key mechanism underlying chronic diseases. Time to replace wireless devices with safer wired option in your living environment in order to reduce your exposure to microwave radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.




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  13. In the video, Dr. Greger briefly mentions a bluetooth headset is somewhat safer than holding the phone directly to your ear. Did I understand this correctly? My understanding is that bluetooth is also based on microwaves, maybe just a lower frequency. If so, what about having the phone strapped to your belt on your hip or in your pocket? Are those areas still as susceptible to DNA damage and cancer? I’m not debating the information here (quite the contrary). Just wondering if I should get a bluetooth headset. I’m also curious about laptops and wifi since I use a laptop every day.




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    1. Your concerns are very valid. Microwave radiation can get amplified in a car (due to reflection off metal surfaces) and using bluethooth is still risky. Use wireless devices only for short-term emergency work and use wired options (and disable WiFi) for regular use. There is a lot of info on Environmental Health Trust ehtrust.org




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    2. Hi, Robert. As I mentioned in a previous response, in addition to being a nutritionist, I am also a licensed Amateur Extra Class radio operator, and so I have a bit of knowledge on radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure and safety. All electronic devices emit some electromagnetic radiation which is non-ionizing radiation, meaning that it does not ionize atoms. It can, however, heat body tissues, and may be able to damage them in other ways that have not yet been sufficiently studied. Most susceptible to heat damage are the eyes.

      There are four main factors that affect risks from EMR exposure through RF: frequency (cell phones use higher frequency microwaves), signal strength, proximity, and duration of exposure. Different frequencies affect tissues in different ways. The closer people are to transmitting antennae, the stronger the signal, and the longer they are exposed, the greater the risk. The key to bluetooth headsets being safer than holding phones next to the head is that their signal strength is much less than that of the phone itself, because they are only trying to connect with the phone, and not with cell towers that may be miles away. Unless you need privacy when using the phone, you could try using the speaker function for phone calls. Another option is to use a wired headset that plugs into your phone, if you have a phone that still has a headphone jack. Being directly connected to your device, these do not transmit using antennae. I hope that helps!




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  14. Long before the cellphone was born, we already had EMF from electrical wiring in the house, power line, radio, TV, then cordless phone, remote control, microwave oven, PC, WIFI and then cellphone. The following article from the NIH distinguishes between non-iodized EMF which are all of the above, and iodized EMF such as from X-Ray, diagnostic and therapeutics radiation. Non iodized EMF cannot cause cancer, as the NIH article has said.

    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet




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    1. Wrong terminology: It is not iodized – it is ionized.
      Low frequency EMF and high frequency microwaves (all wireless devices emit this and your microwave oven leaks MW too) are non-ionizing. That means they don’t have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms but they still have a biological effects via oxidative stress, changing membrane calcium channels etc.




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  15. Yes, Jerry, the video says the same thing as the NIH study, that cell phone radiation doesn’t damage DNA directly.

    NF video: “cell phone radiation isn’t like nuclear radiation; it doesn’t damage DNA directly, like gamma rays from an atomic bomb or something.”

    NIH study: “EMFs in the non-ionizing part of the electromagnetic spectrum cannot damage DNA or cells directly.”

    Both say it could cause damage indirectly.




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    1. The NIH article also said that there is no risk of cancer (just that there is one more source of EMF). Speaking of cherry picked reading, as usual.

      “Studies of animals have not provided any indications that exposure to ELF-EMFs is associated with cancer (9–12). The few high-quality studies in animals have provided no evidence that Wi-Fi is harmful to health (7). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, is carrying out a large-scale study in rodents of exposure to radiofrequency energy (the type used in cell phones). This investigation is being conducted in highly specialized labs that can specify and control sources of radiation and measure their effects. Preliminary results from this study were released in May 2016.

      Although there is no known mechanism by which non-ionizing EMFs could damage DNA and cause cancer, even a small increase in risk would be of clinical importance given how widespread exposure to these fields is.”

      “In 2015, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks reviewed electromagnetic fieldsExit Disclaimer in general, as well as cell phones in particular. It found that, overall, epidemiologic studies of extremely low frequency fields show an increased risk of childhood leukemia with estimated daily average exposures above 0.3 to 0.4 μT, although no mechanisms have been identified and there is no support from experimental studies that explains these findings. It also found that the epidemiologic studies on radiofrequency exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumors or other cancers of the head and neck region, although the possibility of an association with acoustic neuroma remains open (56).”




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      1. Can you say that? Legally, I mean.

        Anyway, here’s wishing you a merry holiday whose name we cannot say that we celebrate on December 25th. ‘-)

        I really hope you do not get into trouble over saying that.:-(




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    1. For a short moment, I was wondering who gave me all those thumb up. I thought that it is Nancy who now starts to see the light eventually. But sigh, it’s you!




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  16. Seeing the scans of cell phone radiation penetrating the skull makes one wonder about those who keep their phone in their front pocket, or who use it in their lap, maybe to watch videos etc.




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  17. Dr. G,

    As always, thank you for your tireless work and commitment to a more informed and healthier public. Perhaps I’m reading into this too much, but recently there has been a trend away from the nutritional themes of your content. The catchy title of this video surely grabs the attention of newcomers and followers alike, but I have fond memories of a site and a mission devoted to preventing and arresting the top 15 killers, which you’ve spoken so passionately of, through dietary interventions. I don’t discredit the discussion on these important topics recently, but I just wonder what it means for this website. From lectins a few weeks ago, now to toothpaste and cell phone radiation more recently. Perhaps there is a place for these, but I just hope the focus stays on evidence-based nutrition, as you’ve always been an outspoken advocate. So many lives can be improved by the dietary changes you’ve recommended, as long as we don’t get lost in the minutiae of smaller, more tangential contributors to disease.

    Thank you,




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    1. Cafe Beans, there are so many videos that have been posted over the years on nutrition that I’ll bet if you do a search for whatever topic you are interested in, there is already a video for it. Occasionally Dr. Greger will post something that updates a subject, but there is such a large body of work here that covers specific nutritional concerns that suggests nutrition is not being put on the back burner.

      There is more to health than nutrition, especially in this wired world we live in. This current video and the toothpaste one you reference are ones that are long overdue, IYKWIM.




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    2. All the other negative effects on health SHOULD BE ADDRESSED….whenever possible or reasonable.

      If you eat your veggies…you could still walk out in front of a bus. Some halfwit game show host could start a nuclear war?

      You should never stick your head in the sand…buses can see this and they WILL come after you. ;-)




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      1. So I don’t disagree with either of you in the points you are making. But, Dr. Greger’s website is “NutritionFacts.org” which is a “science-based, non-commercial website to provide free daily videos and articles on the latest discoveries in nutrition.”

        As Dr. Greger frequently states, diet is one of the single biggest contributors to disease. I just hope that we don’t take attention off of the most relevant, and potentially life-altering topics/ videos.

        Lonie, you’re correct. There are many nutritional videos available on this site. I’ve watched hundreds of them and continue to do so. But there are still individuals who are confused about whether we should be eating dietary cholesterol and saturated fat, despite the evidence Dr. Greger has cited. I think it’s better for the website to focus on solidifying the public’s awareness of nutritional research rather than branching out too much towards lifestyle factors. These are important, but perhaps better addressed in a different domain. It’s a slippery slope, because there is already so much to discuss in nutritional research, with thousands of articles coming out every year. Lifestyle medicine topics, including the environment, genetics, exercise and mind-body research (which is blowing up in research currently) are equally crucial but may be better addressed in a separate, dedicated space, so that they don’t blot out the nutritional science.




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  18. Hello. I have a question not related to this particular video:

    I recently started watching Dr Greger videos and now just watched a few videos with Dr Bikman. Very confusing. Both Dr. Greger and Dr Bikman cite scientific studies that arrive at seemingly different conclusions and advocate different diets? Please advise. Low carb and high fat versus the opposite.

    How does one really find out what the truth is?




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