Cell phones and cancer, is there a connection?

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — You’ve heard the warnings, it’s even written in the tiny print of most cell phone owners’ manuals and under the legal section in your phone – you’re warned not to hold your phone too close to your body.

Your cell phone emits radiation. Now a new study is finding a connection between cancer and cell phones. During a visit to a VCU lab, Erdem Topsakal chair of VCU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and his team of students showed 8News radiation levels from our phone constantly fluctuates.

During a visit to a VCU lab, Erdem Topsakal chair of VCU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and his team of students showed 8News radiation levels from our phone constantly fluctuates.”Over here is the big spike that we get from our phones,” explains grad student Umar Hasni. They use a spectrum analyzer to measure the radio frequency radiation from cell phones.

“Over here is the big spike that we get from our phones,” explains grad student Umar Hasni. They use a spectrum analyzer to measure the radio frequency radiation from cell phones.”When you have your blue tooth and Wifi and cellular data and all are on at the same time, the number actually goes up,” says Topsakal.

“When you have your blue tooth and Wifi and cellular data and all are on at the same time, the number actually goes up,” says Topsakal.

“If your phone is right next to your face, you are essentially in direct line of that power,” adds Hasni.

The initial report, just released, from a ten-year research study funded by the Federal government exposed mice and rats to RF radiation similar to a human’s exposure from cell phones.

The Report Can Be Read Here

Some of the rats developed brain tumors.

Also sounding the alarm – another study out of Yale University found cell phone use during pregnancy can lead to behavioral disorders in children.

“Of the 200 exposed to microwaves 70 percent of them were almost, very hyperactive, almost similar in what we have in human-like ADHD,” explains Topsakal.

CTIA, a trade group that lobbies for the cellphone industry spoke with 8News.

“The safety of cell phone consumers is important to CTIA and the wireless industry. CTIA and the wireless industry follow scientific research relating to the safety of cell phones, including the release of the National Toxicology Program’s partial findings. The larger scientific community will consider the partial findings, as well as the complete reports when they are released, in the context of the many other scientific studies conducted over several decades. Based on the substantial literature on cell phones and health, the consensus of the scientific community, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, American Cancer Society and numerous other international and U.S. organizations and health experts, is that the scientific evidence shows no known health risk due to the RF energy emitted by cell phones. The evidence includes official federal brain cancer statistics showing that since the introduction of cellphones in the mid-1980s, the rate of brain cancer in the United States has remained stable. As the FDA states on its website, ‘the weight of scientific evidence does not show an association between exposure to radio frequency from cell phones and adverse health outcomes.’”

The Federal Communication Commission has established safe exposure limits for cell phone radiation, known as SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). All cell phones in the U.S. must fall below the FCC limit of 1.6 watts per kilogram.

Cell phone manufacturers also point out the federal government has established safe exposure limits for cellphone radiation, and each cellphone must pass a radiation test before it can be sold legally in the U.S. Critics argue those limits for set 20 years ago and are outdated.

The American Cancer Society urges continued research.

Until then, some, including the lab at VCU, are creating products aimed at reducing cell phone radiation.

“The technology we developed is capable of deflecting over 99.9 % of that radiation effectively,” explains Hasni.

The VCU grad student has created fabric woven with radiation shielding.

“It’s a pattern design technology. It’s patent pending right now,” says Hasni.

Testing it for 8News, Hasni puts the fabric between two radio frequency antennas and we can see a dramatic drop in the radiation levels.

Later this year, Hasni, with help of Margaret Karles, a student in the Brandcenter’s Experience Design Program, plans to manufacture a band or body suit that can be worn by expectant mothers.

Others are working on technology to prevent your headset from acting as an antenna, allowing radiation to climb up the cable. Ed Pettersen, CEO of Cooler Communications LLC showed 8News his Cool Call device. The device plugs into your headphones jack, and then your headphones plug into the Cool Call device.

“After it passes through this piece no more radiation will pass up the cable to your headset,” says Pettersen.

He says the chemicals combined with copper wires inside the device absorb the radiation.

“So what comes out the other side is nothing but a pure clean digital signal,” says Pettersen.

You can buy the product online.

What else can you do to reduce your exposure to RF radiation?

Use your speakerphone for calls, text instead of talk, and when you must talk, never use blue tooth, WIFI and cellular data at the same time. Try to disconnect at least one.

It is also recommended that you keep your cell phone out of your pockets.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.