The Health 101 Newsletter

Issue 5
Your Questions Answered
 In each of these newsletters I will address one of the issues you have
 asked me to write about, and that's what this column is devoted to.

Cell Phones: Friend or Foe, or Both
By Don Bennett, DAS

Q: Are cell phones dangerous to use or not; I'm hearing all kinds of conflicting information, and I don't want to do something that could endanger my health.

A: I've received a lot of inquiries about this issue, and seeing as how cell phones are just as much a part of our lives as eating, and since cell phones can be even more injurious than an unhealthy diet (especially to a child), I thought I'd tackle this question in this issue.

The short answer is that cell phones can be health damaging if used the wrong way, but they can be used safely, thus affording you the convenience of using one without any harm to your health.

The problem is that the majority of people trust that if a product is allowed on the market, they assume it's safe. If history has taught us anything, it is that this is not necessarily true. If I were to rattle off all of the chemicals and medications that were approved for sale to the general public and were deemed to be GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the government, and then years later were found to be harmful (because there was no getting around the fact that they were), you'd be astounded. And you'd also probably remember most if not all of them. So it should be obvious to us by now that just because we can buy a product, doesn't mean it's safe.

Those who make questionable products and those who approve them for sale to the public knowing that there are reasons not to, can sleep soundly because they know that we're aware of the expression, Caveat Emptor, "let the buyer beware". So since we should be applying this in our daily lives, let's apply it especially to those products that have critics who are qualified to pass judgment... like the cell phone.

Consider that when the tobacco industry discovered just how hazardous cigarettes were, they did everything they could to hide that fact (including fighting Congress when it was ordered that warnings must be placed on the sides of cigarette packs). So it should come as no surprise that when the modern day cell phone was invented, even though there were scientists who expressed concern that it could be a health hazard, it was full steam ahead for the cell phone industry. Why? Because this product – and the services that must go along with it – represented billions of dollars of profit. Going by what the higher ups in the tobacco industry said behind closed doors when trying to hide cigarette's health hazards, I'm reasonably sure that cell phone industry execs figured that any cancers that resulted from cell phones could never be directly linked to them, so they and their industry were "golden".

But their hopes have been somewhat shattered. Even though there had been hard-science that showed what the connection between cell phones and cancer could be, there are now study results that back that up (I'll show 'em to you in a moment). But I'm not getting my hopes up for this to have a profound affect on public health because about eight years ago the TV show Dateline did a segment on the potential health risks of cell phones, and it was a very well done piece of investigative journalism. In the days following the show I noticed some people were now using wired earpieces who hadn't before (Bluetooth had yet to be invented). But some folks who had seen the show were still holding the phones up to their head! True, some of these people were cigarette smokers so there's no mystery there, but others simply couldn't be bothered with the inconvenience of messing with a wired earpiece every time they wanted to use their phone (if they couldn't use the speakerphone feature). I tried to reason with some of them, saying, "How inconvenient would it be if cell phones were never invented? And if cell phones could only be used with an earpiece (couldn't be held up to the head), would you have said, "Nah, I'm not going to get one; I'll stick with pay phones". Of course not! You'd be thrilled that such a thing was invented, even if you could only use an earpiece or the speakerphone. And when considering the subject of inconvenience, how inconvenient is brain cancer?

In this issue's Video of the Day you'll find a segment from the PBS Newshour which covered a new report about the link between cell phones and cancer. Because of their obligation to do balanced reporting, PBS had to give the cell phone industry an opportunity to weigh in. It was interesting that there wasn't the usual counterpoint from an industry representative who would go on-camera refuting the study results, as I have seen many times on this news show. Instead the cell phone industry merely put out a statement, "Today's news does not mean that cell phones cause cancer." But if you listen between the lines to the report, it is quite obvious that indeed cell phones can cause cancer. But if they can, how can an industry representative get away with saying that? Simple. In our society, something doesn't cause cancer until it can be clearly shown that there is a "direct link" which must be backed up with "positive proof" which consists of multiple, peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of thousands of people over many decades. This form of "proof" is obviously in the best interests of the corporate world, but it's not in the best interests of the rest of the world. If you want a laugh, read the recent quote from the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company that says there has never been positive proof that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Yet, you and I somehow know that it does.

The doctor that PBS interviewed was trying his best to be "balanced". He could have offered up the empirical evidence that there has been a clear "preference" on the part of brain cancer in recent years to occur on the right side of the head, when there had never been this trend before (more people are right-handed and thus hold a cell phone up to the right side of the head). But since this is just an observation, and not part of a controlled study, I can understand why a man of science wouldn't mention it. But I'm a man of science, and I just mentioned it! Maybe because I feel it's intellectually irresponsible to not inform the public of a probable health risk when you have the opportunity to do so. But you could say that PBS just wants the facts, but this right side of the brain cancer trend is a fact.

So if you care about your health (and you wouldn't be reading this newsletter if you didn't), take a gander at this issue's Video of the Day, but first have a look at the Featured Article below.




Featured Article
from the website

The Connection Between Cell Phones and Cancer

"What do brain surgeons know about cell phone safety that the rest of us don’t? In June of 2008, three prominent neurosurgeons told CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cell phones next to their ears." (Read the full article...)



  Quote of the Day


"One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make muscle and bone with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the flesh and raw materials of animal; talking all the while he walks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made muscle and bone, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle." – Henry David Thoreau




  Chuckle of the Day







  Video of the Day


Click the PLAY button above to watch a six minute
PBS Newshour segment on the new cell phone-cancer report




Item of the Day


"Invisible" Shoes!

Super comfy sandals that you make yourself (from a kit), or buy ready-made (Z-Trek or Z-Trail). The sole is thin Vibram material that is very flexible. I chose not to have the lace come from between my toes as with flip-flops. And if you run, this footwear will force you to run properly, landing on your forefoot and not your heel. Go to their website here.




  Good Question &
  Good Answer of the Day


"Why are we told that breast cancer can't be prevented, and you say that it can?"

First, the reason you're told that it can't be prevented depends on who's telling you this. If doctors tell you this, it is because this is what they've been taught. Doctors are not born with the information they possess; they get the information they use in their practice from a curriculum, but if that course of study has missing information, or worse, misinformation, this affects their patients. If well-meaning friends and family tell you breast cancer can't be prevented it is because this is what they honestly believe. If you hear this from some people in the upper echelons of the medical industry and breast cancer industry, it is because they are lying. How do I know this? Because if someone like myself knows that breast cancer can be prevented, there are folks in those industries who have to know.

The reason that I say breast cancer can be prevented is because it is known what causes breast cancer, and when you know what causes something, it is preventable (except in cases of things like sudden accidental exposure to massive doses of radiation). And the reason why most people don't know that breast cancer can be prevented is because the breast cancer industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Sad but true. When there is profit in ill-health, any information that can dramatically decrease those profits is not likely to become common knowledge, even though that would be in the public's best interest.

For more info, see New Breast Cancer Concern




  Book of the Day


There is so much misinformation regarding health and disease, and not enough honest, straightforward guidance, but just such guidance awaits you within this book. The Ultimate Raw Food Diet Detox and Wellness Program by Ellen Livingston belongs in every health seeker's library. In plain, easy to understand terms, Ellen lays out the facts about how eating the diet we're designed to eat can help your body cleanse itself and in so doing, improve its operating efficiency and improve your chances of living a disease-free life. Click the book to see its webpage.




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