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Do cellular telephones and Wi-Fi cause health issues?

Is using your mobile phone completely safe for you? Or can it cause cancer and other health issues? Traditionally, the mobile phone industry and public organisations maintained that mobile phones and mobile phone towers were safe. Indeed, in February 2007, a study published by Martin Röösli and colleagues in Switzerland analysed data from people who had died of a brain tumour between 1969 and 2002. By comparing mortality rates before and after 1987, when mobile phone technology was introduced in Switzerland, they did not find a strong risk in the short term for people who frequently used mobile phones. However, already then, the authors cautioned that it takes a long time for tumours to form and that long-term studies are needed to verify their data one way or the other.

Do the data still hold? And what about devices that can use Wi-Fi technology, such as tablet computers, smart phones, video-game consoles and digital audio players - are they safe? Current research suggests that low radiofrequency radiation (RFR) as emitted from mobile phones, mobile phone towers and Wi-Fi devices may not be quite as harmless after all. Damage can occur perhaps not so much by the heating of tissue as was the suggested mechanism for some of the observed cancers, but by causing oxidative stress in living cells, resulting in oxidative damage to proteins, lipids and the DNA - at a dose much less than is presently considered as safe.

So, what can you do? It is near impossible to protect yourself and your loved ones from RF-radiation exposure, as it is all around us, but all is not lost. You can counteract the negative effects of oxidative stress by using different antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, selenium, garlic extract or glutathione. Glutathione is especially beneficial. Foods high in natural glutathione include fresh asparagus, broccoli, avocado, spinach, zucchini, raw egg and ricotta cheese.

In view of the long latency period for certain diseases to develop, such as cancer, we recommend that you also reduce your exposure levels to RF radiation by limiting the number and duration of mobile phone calls and the use of other mobile devices, by using hands-free devices (making sure they too aren't wireless, such as bluetooth) and by advising your children to only use mobile phones when absolutely necessary.

Undoubtedly, we will learn more about this issue in the future as more long-term exposure data becomes available and as alternative non-thermal mechanisms of tissue damage are investigated.

Kottou, S., Nikolopoulos D., Vogiannis E. Koulougliotis D., Petraki E. and Yannakopoulos P.H. 2014. How Safe is the Environmental Electromagnetic Radiation? Physical Chemistry & Biophysics, 4:3
Röösli M., Michel G. Kuehni C.E. and Spoerri A. 2007. Cellular telephone use and time trends in brain tumour mortality in Switzerland from 1969 to 2002. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 16(1).
Scarfi V. And Maria R. 2014. International and National Expert Group Evaluations: Biological/Health Effects of Radiofrequency Fields. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 11(9).
Yakymenko I., Sidorik E., Henshel D. And Kyrylenko S. 2014. Editorial. Low intensity radiofrequency radiation: a new oxidant for living cells. Oxid. Antiodix Med Scie. 3(1).

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