Alternative Cancer Therapies & Cell Phones | Natural Health Blog

Date: 06/06/2008    Written by: Jon Barron

Cell Phones Pop Corn, Toast Brains

Air Pollution, Blood Clots

A recent study out of the Harvard School of Public Health found a strong link between air pollution and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)--a dangerous type of blood clot that forms in the thighs or legs and can travel to the lungs. After comparing health records of 870 people diagnosed with DVT in Lombardy, Italy, to the records of 1210 people who did not develop clots, the research team discovered a dramatic rise in risk factor at pollution levels far below the EPA's standard for particulate air pollution. The lowest level of pollution recorded in the study was 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air; the EPA standard is 150 mcg per cubic meter. The researchers found that for every 10-microgram increase in pollution above the 12-mcg level, risk goes up by 70 percent.

Study director Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, said "It is well-established that air pollution causes myocardial infarction [heart attack] and stroke. This is the first time that anyone has connected air pollution with deep vein thrombosis."

The dangerous particulate matter causing the problems is usually a blend of microscopic particles from sources such as vehicle emissions, particularly diesel, the burning of industrial fossil fuels, as well as from woodstove fires, dust storms, and natural fires. The effects of inhaling air pollute with particulate matter are much like the effects of breathing second-hand smoke. Because the particles are so small, they can lodge in lungs and internal organs and travel in the bloodstream like oxygen. Scientists already knew that pollution spikes the incidence of lung problems ranging from asthma complications to lung cancer. And studies have found that exposure to pollution from car fumes triples the risk of heart attack in heart-attack survivors. The EPA says that 65,000 Americans suffer pollution-related cardiac problems each year.

Those estimates seem quite conservative in the face of a new study released by the California Air Resources Board, which found that 24,000 deaths annually in California result from chronic exposure to pollution. Chief researcher Bart Croes said, "Our report concludes these particles are 70% more dangerous than previously thought, based on several major studies that have occurred in the last five years." According to the LA Tiimes, "....rates of heart attacks, strokes and other serious disease increase exponentially after exposure to even slightly higher amounts of metal or dust." And other sources, notably Dr Robert D Brook of the University of Michigan, say that air pollution ranks number 13 among the world's killers.

Now, we can add DVT to the list of pollution-related bugaboos -- and that's no trifle, as the condition is fatal in one-third of the cases left untreated. If you're worried, note that the pollution-DVT link is stronger for men than for women and virtually nonexistent for women on hormone therapy or the pill (and no, I'm not recommending that you get on HRT or the pill).

So what can you do to minimize damage from pollution, short of moving to Tasmania? Well, you can stop taking pollution, smog, and haze as a given. This means monitoring pollution levels where you are. Several websites offer up-to-the-minute air-quality info, and you can even have daily updates emailed to you reporting pollution levels in your area from a service called EnviroFlash.

On smoggy days, it's risky to exercise outdoors, and in general, you should opt to exercise away from highways, factories, and fires. Stay away from burning trash. If your county has no-burn laws, make sure your neighbors comply. If you don't have laws limiting the burning of trash, get active and contact your legislators. Unfortunately, the same goes for fireplaces-- romantic though they are. An EPA study found that breathing emissions from burning wood fires on polluted days is equivalent to smoking four to 16 cigarettes.

You can find suggestions for 50 ways to minimize both your exposure to air pollution and your contribution to it here. You'll notice, though, that most of the ideas involve taking action that won't necessarily protect you in the moment. For instance, advocating the abolition of diesel-operated busses may eventually pay off, but it won't protect you today, and you need buy-in from others before this measure takes hold.

That's why it really pays to do those things that you do have control over:


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    Submitted by Andy on
    June 11, 2008 - 12:59am

    So do you mean to say its going to be a little longer until my popcorn is ready?

    Submitted by anneka juilus on
    June 8, 2008 - 9:14am

    In the movie Rattatouile, a rat spoke and cooked excellent food.
    Even though that movie was complete fiction, it brings up a very real problem. Are we possibly killing hyper-literate 5 star chefs when we kill rats?
    In the movie, Candyman, saying ""candyman"" ten times in front of a mirror with the lights out causes evil to happen.
    The movie is based on folklore, but shouldn't we warn our children about the possibility of unleashing pure, unadulterated evil into our homes at night?
    Better safe than sorry, I always say!

    Submitted by Barry Guevremont on
    June 14, 2008 - 10:32am

    How about this video raw egg removed from shell, placed in glass bowl next to two cellphones . watch the video at 2 minutes a small white spot appears that gradually gets bigger , and black spots form is the egg being cooked ? how is this possible ?

    Submitted by Cameron Wigmore on
    June 9, 2008 - 8:02am

    Forget the wacky youtube videos and read this text from the link to the NYT article:
    ""...The F.D.A. notes, however, that the average period of phone use in the studies it cites was about three years, so the research doesn’t answer questions about long-term exposures. Critics say many studies are flawed for that reason, and also because they do not distinguish between casual and heavy use.
    Cellphones emit non-ionizing radiation, waves of energy that are too weak to break chemical bonds or to set off the DNA damage known to cause cancer. There is no known biological mechanism to explain how non-ionizing radiation might lead to cancer.
    But researchers who have raised concerns say that just because science can’t explain the mechanism doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. Concerns have focused on the heat generated by cellphones and the fact that the radio frequencies are absorbed mostly by the head and neck. In recent studies that suggest a risk, the tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone...""
    Let's all just forget about the precautionary principle and ignore the studies showing correlation between cell phone use and health problems. Yeah, I know, correlation does not equal causation, but that brings me back to the precautionary principle....

    Submitted by Chris on
    June 10, 2008 - 6:59am

    ""Are the videos real or a hoax? It doesn't matter. They serve to focus attention on a serious issue.""
    Not true. It _does_ matter, because you start a debate about an issue (safety of cellphone use) with an item of 'information' (this video). People will remember this information, even if later it is proven to be a hoax (which my professional opinion says it must be - and if you don't believe me, why doesn't your ear get sizzling hot when you phone? It is even nearer the antenna than your brain!).
    When a false rumor is started, it is almost impossible to put it back in the bottle. So it _is_ important whether this video is a hoax, and even more important that it is stated clearly that it is a hoax. Otherwise the attention you focus is improperly biased, and people will continue to use it as a demonstration of the ""harm"" of cellphones when it (almost certainly) shows no such thing.
    See also for debunking of this myth

    Submitted by DFG on
    June 9, 2008 - 11:39pm

    His study has no basis for scientific merit and I find his credibility pretty lax considering he is using You Tube videos as reference.
    It's like saying a lead pencil will give you lead poisoning. In case some of you don't know, it's actually wax and graphite in a pencil.

    Submitted by editor on
    June 8, 2008 - 2:22am

    This is your brain. This is your brain next to a cellphone. This is popcorn. This is popcorn popping next to a cellphone.
    Any questions?

    Submitted by eric Rhoads on
    June 7, 2008 - 5:50pm

    The exact same technology as microwave ovens is used for cell phones. When first launched they discovered the power had to be kept to a mininum or it would cook your eyeballs (which is the most vulnerable tissue.) The MOST radiation comes when connecting but its best to keep it short all times. Also if you think you're safe with a headset while the phone is on your belt, just understand the cumulative effect of cooking your abdominal organs.

    Submitted by ice on
    June 9, 2008 - 5:33pm

    heck.. i tried it.. but it didt work.. definitely a hoax video from youtube...

    Submitted by Jay on
    June 10, 2008 - 1:41am

    More fear mongering on the internet. Let’s write a blog about something I know little about, do minimal research, and use bogus videos to further my claim. Aren’t these the same tactics George W. Bush used in getting us to Iraq? People are sure mad at him. Stick to facts and leave plausibility out of it. Don’t you have enough to worry about these days anyway?

    Submitted by joe on
    June 10, 2008 - 8:25am

    I had bad headaches for some time,I am a constant cell phone user, for my biz.I put some sort of chip on my phone and they went away! I am old enough to remember when smoking used to be promted as a product that was good for you. the wireless industry is big big business, do you think they can give a crap about my headaches or anyone else suffering form this electro-pollution. to those of you that think there is no problem, enjoy the slow burn!

    Submitted by Johan on
    June 24, 2008 - 7:28am

    Here is a related and interesting article from DailyIndia that some people would argue is fear mongering but what if it is true?

    Submitted by john on
    June 9, 2008 - 6:22pm

    im concerned because i use the damm
    thing for hours on end blame the unlimited
    calling plan.

    Submitted by John on
    June 10, 2008 - 9:36pm

    Awesome article! Good job =)

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    June 12, 2008 - 9:04am

    Hey Everyone:

    I have to admit, it's great fun reading all the comments on my blog, but let's get real for a moment. There's nothing ambiguous about the blog. The reference to the popcorn videos was merely to use them as an attention grabber and as a launching point for a discussion on cellphones. Out of 11 paragraphs, only one and a fraction reference the popcorn videos. If anyone thinks the blog is about popcorn, they're obsessing.

    The major argument against cellphones being a health risk is that no one can explain how they might be causing problems. But as researchers who have raised concerns point out, just because science can’t explain the mechanism doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. (For that matter, can anyone of you say for sure what causes cancer? I don't think so. But I also don't think any of you doubt that people get cancer.) In any case, in recent studies on cellphones that suggest a risk, the tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone. True, the studies are observational, showing only an association between cellphone use and cancer, not a causal relationship. Nevertheless, some of the research suggests a link between cellphone use and three types of tumors: glioma; cancer of the parotid, a salivary gland near the ear; and acoustic neuroma, a tumor that essentially occurs where the ear meets the brain. True, these cancers are rare so far, so even if there is a risk, it may be low. Then again, last year, The American Journal of Epidemiology published data from Israel finding a 58 percent higher risk of parotid gland tumors among heavy cellphone users. Also last year, a Swedish analysis of 16 studies in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed a doubling of risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma after 10 years of heavy cellphone use.

    That may not be enough of a link to convince many of you, but it seems to be enough for a number of neurosurgeons to go public with their concerns -- and to state that they will no longer hold their cellphones to their heads. Finally, for those of you who are interested, you might want to look at Dr. Vini Khurana's report on the issue. Dr. Khurana is an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University. Observing from the POV of the neurosurgeon who is seeing these brain tumors first hand, he is more than a little concerned.

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    June 14, 2008 - 3:07pm

    Hi Barry:

    Nope, you can't cook an egg with a cellphone anymore than you can pop popcorn. The same principles apply. However, just because the videos are hoaxes and you can't cook with cellphones, does not mean that cellphones are harmless. As I pointed out above, although the exact mechanism through which cellphones harm the brain may be unknown, the statistical evidence that they do so is starting to become overwhelming. Just because we don't know how it harms brain tissue (it doesn't cook it) doesn't mean it doesn't harm it.The egg video, though, like the popcorn video, is a great attention grabber. Thanks for sharing it.

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    June 8, 2008 - 4:16am

    You're missing the point of the blog. The reference to the popcorn videos was for your entertainment and to focus discussion on a serious issue, the actual dangers associated with cell phone usage. Bottom line: the data (no the popcorn videos) indicating the dangers associated with cell phones is comprehensive, compelling, and not so easily dismissed. Chill out and enjoy the videos for what they are. Oh, and stop using your cell phone so much. It may be affecting your sense of humor.

    Submitted by Josh on
    June 16, 2008 - 3:31am

    I'd just like to remind everyone that DDT was harmless, cigarettes were good for you (helps digestion!), fen-phen was a safe way to lose weight, and chopping down every tree in the forest somehow didn't damage rivers or cause erosion. Turns out none of these things were true. "Not proven dangerous" is not the same thing as "proven safe", not by a long shot. The precautionary principle, as someone cited above. Cell phone towers, for example, are being investigated as a cause of Colony Colapse Disorder in honeybees. A little thoughtful caution can prevent a lot of trouble. But that isn't how we Americans roll!

    Submitted by JT on
    June 12, 2008 - 3:18am

    I stand corrected on the resonant frequencies. Too little research on my part there. The power considerations are pretty overwhelming, I agree. I am still concerned that the tone of the article and the title remain unchanged and, essentially misleading.
    There was a link above to a somewhat reactionary site in the Netherlands(?... a .nl site) that mentions WIFI and other sources of microwave radiation also. I was somewhat concerned by their confusing mixture of units (milliwatts, microwatts, several orders of magnitudes, etc.) and found their conclusions very alarmist.
    Anyway, I am busy with many other things and will leave this discussion for the rest of you... enjoy ;-)

    Submitted by JT on
    June 13, 2008 - 1:46am

    Title of the Article:
    Cell Phones Pop Corn, Toast Brains: Health Blog
    The quote referred to by Jon:
    According to videos circulating on the net, cell phones emit enough radiation to pop corn. Seriously! Watch this video to see for yourself. Don't believe your eyes? Then watch another clip and then ask yourself: if a phone can make the corn go sizzle, what's it doing to your brain?
    Jon's comments:
    1. There's nothing ambiguous about the blog.
    2. If anyone thinks the blog is about popcorn, they're obsessing.
    While it is true that you, Jon, mention that this is 'just to focus attention', you also have kept the title the same and not removed any of the confusing and misleading statements. There is ambiguity in the blog entry if on one hand the title and a portion of it indicate that cellphone can pop popcorn and other portions indicate that it may be a hoax.
    Recent developments have shown that it was indeed a 'viral video' posted by a major bluetooth headset manufacturer.
    Again, if you focused on the legitimate, non-fanatic concerns that are out there, your article would find itself less a target. As it is, your lack of response with regard to the title and content, in the face of overwhelming (and now confirmed) evidence that the original videos were fakes is very telling.

    Submitted by JT on
    June 8, 2008 - 3:38am

    Gotta call BS on this one.
    1. Cellphone frequencies are not correct for boiling water (needed to pop popcorn)
    2. Cellphone do not emit enough power to pop popcorn (boil the water), especially in 10 seconds (it takes a minute in my 500 W microwave that _is_ optimized for boiling water)
    3. The cellphones are somewhat randomly placed and can not possibly be placed well enough for any standing wave effects.
    4. The cellphone would need to all be at the same frequency. CDMA (Sprint, Verizon, etc) and GSM (Cingular/ATT, T-Mobile, etc.) use different frequencies and different waveforms. All phones would need to be using the same wavelength and waveforms.
    5. Multiplexing of the signals to and from the towers would also reduce any chance of positive reinforcement of the signals.
    Bottom line: The videos are a hoax. Use real research to get people thinking about cellphone effects, not viral vids from youtube.

    Submitted by JT on
    June 8, 2008 - 5:49am

    It is disingenuous to use the videos as a lure to start the conversation. Basic physics shows that these videos, as well as the 'egg cooked by cellphones' videos, are out and out hoaxes. That is NOT a good way to lead into a discussion about the legitimate concerns people may have about cellphone usage. There are valid scientific studies which provide results which support both sides of the issue. Many people will not see the 'humor' in the videos, but will take them at face value.
    While I agree there are some studies which provides results which indicate subtle effects due to cell phone radiation levels, there are many others which show no effects. Hysteria is not a good way to proceed to good scientific discussion.
    P.S. My sense of humor is quite intact.. not to worry. There's lots to laugh at still in this world. ;-)

    Submitted by JT on
    June 9, 2008 - 5:24am

    Apparently they don't care. Note that the title of the blog entry remains unchanged. If Jon was serious in his assertion that the videos were ""for your entertainment and to focus discussion on a serious issue"", I would hope that both the content and the title of the blog entry would be changed.

    Submitted by Kay on
    June 9, 2008 - 8:03pm

    I will go with the New York Times article that is linked. I don't think we know enough. It is probably safe to be safe.

    Submitted by Kevin on
    September 14, 2008 - 2:11pm

    The fact of the matter here is a lot of you people are just justifying the hell out of this issue because you consider your cell phone to be so vital to your everyday existence. Well all I got to say about that is if you consider a brain tumor a convience that you can live with... keep using it like a maniac but dont say you weren't warned. Do you really want to be a guinea pig in a universal experiment (considering over 3 billion people now have cell phones) when you dont know the end result? The evidence is clear that cell phones are a legitimate threat to your health over the long term and many of the studies you mention that show no effect are those instituted or funded by industry sources in part or in full(where the result will be manufactured and totally negating the true scientific approach to finding out more on the issue).

    Submitted by Larry Dillon on
    June 9, 2008 - 6:06pm

    Where in the word did you get this info from you are so full of crap! You are listeniung to the goverment again arn't you? LOL they do not know anything wht is good for you as they still think war is the right thing fo you. You need o do a lot more researces on this as it is si wrong for you ro say crap like this without proof!

    Submitted by Leroy Murray on
    July 1, 2008 - 6:46am

    During the summer of 2005 I used my cell phone for long periods of time (two plus hours a day). As a result I began feeling a tightness within my head. It went away during the winter when I reduced cell phone use. The same thing occured during the summer of 2006, a tightness whithin my head, which stopped that winter. Then it started again durning the the summer of 2007. I have seen three different doctors that all say that there is no connection with cell phone use and my problem. Now in 2008 I have a constant tightness accompanied with headaches that dont go away. I have stopped putting the cell phone against my head but the tightness & headaches have not gone away. I am in the progress of scheduling of having my doctor schedule some internal brain exams. Am I too late ? Leroy M ..... [email protected]

    Submitted by Lion Goodman on
    June 13, 2008 - 9:06am

    It is true that most research has focused on the non-ionizing radiation from cellphones, and results are mixed. The Precautionary Principle is, essentially: unless you know for SURE that it's safe, don't use it.
    However, there has been very LITTLE research on the associated MAGNETIC FIELD effects which all electromagnetic waves generate. In studies of childhood leukemia associated with living near high-voltage lines or power towers, there is a direct correlation between patterns of incidence of leukemia and children's proximity to the power lines. The influence is not the electrical part of the wave, which follows the inverse square law (twice the distance away = one fourth of the power), but the magnetic field effects, which can affect cell growth dramatically.
    On independent radio KPFA, I heard a Canadian research scientist discuss this topic. He said that most research on cellphones has been sponsored by cell phone companies, and of course most corporate sponsored research comes out in favor of the corporation's point of view. There has been VERY LITTLE research into the magnetic field effects on cells, and his research shows that cells, especially growing cells, are VERY POWERFULLY impacted by small currents generating magnetic fields.
    We need government sponsored independent research - and there simply isn't any. The corporations are willing to pay, but our own government is not. I recommend using the precautionary principle. Buy a corded cellphone headset that creates sound via a good old-fashioned speaker that moves air with a magnet (uh-oh) and a paper cone.

    Submitted by M on
    June 21, 2008 - 3:43pm

    Cell phones are very dangerous. I personally stopped using my cell phone to protect my life. My husband and everyone I know do not believe that it has negative effects, but I feel it very strongly every time I use the cell phone. Over the year the symptoms have become stronger and they kick in quicker. First it started by minor "light head" feeling, then headaches that I couldn't pin down. When I finally made the connection that it came from the cell phone and I paid more attention, I realized what was happening. This started about 8 years ago, I called the phone company that provided my service and they laughed at me saying cell phones are safe and they never heard of it causing headaches. A friend of mine from Europe was the only one who believed me and said that he knows another guy who has symptoms like mine. Over the years the symptoms got worse and worse, now if I am even close to a cell phone the side of my face gets very hot, my tongue numbs and the headache lasts about 2 days. I now turn off my phone and check messages from land line, and I do not sit in a car where anyone else is using a cell phone.

    Submitted by Mark on
    June 10, 2008 - 2:13am
    Cellphones popping popcorn or cooking eggs is a hoax. Check out the URL listed to see the truth.


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