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Finger on the Trigger

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If you must pack a cellphone, treat it like a loaded pistol. Keep it turned off. Don't carry it near ovaries, testicles, or the heart.

If you must pack a cellphone, treat it like a loaded pistol. Keep it turned off. Don't carry it near ovaries, testicles, or the heart.

Having somehow survived three-million years of evolution without them, many contemporary hominids claim they cannot live without cellular phones. But can exquisitely sensitive electromagnetic beings live with cellphones and the towers their signals ride in on? Like polyethylene food and water containers, plastic cookers and coffee-makers, microwave ovens and petroleum-powered vehicles, cellphones could be one of those brilliantly beguiling inventions we have to let go.

"Microwave frequencies are the same as those used in radar and your microwave oven," says Florida cellphone tower opponent Joe Chwick. "You wouldn't think of sticking your head in the oven, but there is no hesitation to putting the cellphone to your ear."

Phone Disruptions

British military scientists have discovered that cellphone transmissions disrupt the brain sites for memory and learning, causing forgetfulness and sudden confusion.

Other studies show that electromagnetic signals from cellular phones reduce the ability to concentrate, calculate and coordinate complicated activities such as driving a car. Startled by $4 billion a year in extra claims among cellphone-wielding drivers, North American insurers did a double-take when they found simply juggling the phone while driving phones is not solely responsible for causing the 600 per cent increase in accidents. Instead of just another dangerous distraction, tests conducted by the US Department of Energy found that using a cellphone severely impairs memory and reaction times. "Hands-free" mobile speaker-phones cause even more crashes because they typically emit 10 times more brainwave interference than handheld units.

For all drivers dialing out, University of Toronto investigators report that the heightened probability of crashing your car persists for up to 15 minutes after completing a call.

"That's comparable to the risk of crashing while driving dead drunk," exclaims Dr Chris Runball, chairman of the BC Medical Association's emergency medical services committee. Reeling from "dial-a-collision" costs, the government of British Columbia may join England, Spain, Israel, Switzerland and Brazil in restricting or banning the use of cellphones by drivers.

But Health Safety Code 6 looks only at microwaves burning skin.

"Basically, Health Canada claims if it can't cook you, it can't hurt you," says Walter McGinnis, a certified electrician who has been testing EMFs and collaborating with fellow testers and researchers for nearly a decade. "It's like saying cigarettes aren't dangerous unless they burn you."

Fatal Attraction

Carrying similar risks of long-term lethality and just as legal, cellphone addiction mirrors the prestigious early allure of smoking as well as an immensely profitable industry's steadfast denial of risk and responsibility. As poisonous as cigarette smoke and even harder to control, the cellphone's "second-hand" microwave and radio frequency (RF) pollution pose invisible but significant risks to bystanders particularly children riding in cars that transmit amplified cellphone signals through their structure. Reporting the conclusions of a 12-person British study team, scientist Sir William Stewart told London's Financial Times that "Children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head and a longer lifetime of exposure."

Roger Coghill became a longstanding advocate for health warnings to be affixed to mobile phones after this biologist found that cellphone transmissions damage the ability of white blood cells to ward off infectious disease by disrupting the immune system's electromagnetic communications.

Dr Neil Cherry has measured accelerated aging, increased cell death and cancers caused by radio frequency microwaves from cellphones and their relay towers. With the brain's electrochemical communications repeatedly zapped by lightning-like cellphone pulses, the PhD biophysicist warns that headaches, fatigue, lethargy, nausea, dizziness, depression, arteriosclerosis and even Alzheimer's can result from frequent or prolonged calls.
"There is also a higher incidence of cardiac problems in terms of the timing function in hearts," says Cherry. "You get more heart attacks and more heart disease it has now been shown in many studies."

In 1995, mobile phone sales in North America exceeded the birth rate. Hired by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association to condone cellphones, public health scientist George Carlo found that rare tumors on the outside of the brain are more than doubled among cellphone callers particularly on the right side of the head where phones are usually held. Carlo told ABC's "20/20" that cell phone causes genetic damage that leads to cancer.

When it comes to cellphones, every call is collect you pay with your health. For partial protection, buy an antenna shield. Limit calls to one-minute, six to 10 minutes a month. Never use a cellphone with children anywhere in sight.

How can convenience count more than cancer? Unless we start voting with our wallets, consumer complacency could prove as species-limiting as corporate cynicism. Would hanging up to this intrusive addiction be so terrible? Excuse me while I take this call.

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