Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Wearable phones and computers are on loads of shopping lists as the holiday season approaches, but scientists are warning that research indicates the devices present likely health risks.
Of particular concern is cell phone radiation.
Dr. Hugh Taylor, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale School of Medicine, exposed pregnant mice to close-up cell phone signals and observed the offspring behaving like children with attention deficit disorder.
"I think all these radiation emitting technologies deserve a proper evaluation that includes not only exposure to adults, but what happens to the fetus, the most vulnerable stage of life," he says.
Many scientists question the accuracy of industry-funded research. They say money for government and foundation-funded research is scarce. And, they say, when they report on the evidence of risk, the mainstream media – like those lab mice – have a short attention span.
Martin Blank, a DNA expert at Columbia University, says the current research is more than enough to prompt action.
"When you get a situation when a problem arises, you invoke what's known as the precautionary principle,” he explains. “You take a certain amount of precaution as a result of a risk that has been identified."
David Gultekin, a research physicist at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, showed that cell phone radiation creates hot spots in human brains. He maintains that wearable gadgets are brought to the marketplace with little concern for safety.
"When they're designing and developing a new product and introducing it, very rarely the health aspect of it is mentioned, or not mentioned at all," he says.
The recommendations are to keep cell phones and other devices away from sensitive body parts, and especially, pregnant women are cautioned not to hold cell phones near their abdomens, or in handbags carried near their bodies.