Environmental Health Trust

Medical, Tech Experts Warn Against Gifting Smartphones This Holiday, Noting Radiation Exposure Risk

Former President of Microsoft Canada and NIH scientist who led landmark study echo new call from California Dept of Health on reducing cell phone radiation


Teton Village, WY -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/19/2017 -- In the final days of the holiday shopping season, environmental health and safety experts are warning parents against buying their children smartphones or Wi-Fi enabled toys, noting that they could pose serious health and safety risks according to experts. Today, Environmental Health Trust (EHT) issued an emergency holiday alert, urging parents and grandparents not to buy their children so-called "smart" phones or watches or other wireless toys as holiday gifts and to limit children's exposures to these devices. Last week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advised reducing exposures to the microwave radiation also called radio frequency energy from cell phones—noting the special risks to young children.

"Parents are often unaware that these child-friendly devices are basically two-way microwave radios, and children are much more vulnerable to the health risks of this radiation," said Devra Davis PhD, MPH, founder and President of Environmental Health Trust. Davis continued, "The scientific evidence is now clear and compelling. We need to give our children toys and tools to grow and learn, not toys and tools which could harm them."

"I spent my whole career in the technology sector. I've seen some tremendous benefits. I've also seen if not used properly technology can be harmful. I believe the way we deploy wireless devices today is harmful," said Frank Clegg, former President of Microsoft Canada and CEO of Canadians For Safe Technology. "Taiwan, our NATO allies in France, Belgium, Italy—they are all doing a much better job of regulating devices and protecting children."

Since 2011, numerous studies have linked cell phone radiation to cancer and other health problems, causing long-time advisors to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) to argue that this radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma—the same type of brain cancer that affected Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain. The landmark $25 million U.S. NIH/NIEHS National Toxicology Program study found long-term that daily exposure to cell phone radiation led to cancers of the brain and heart nerve sheath in male rats, as well as DNA damage in brain cells of exposed animals.

Ronald Melnick PhD, formerly the Senior NIH toxicologist who led the design of the National Toxicology Program study and a Senior Advisor to EHT, said, "THE NTP study was designed to see if there can be any adverse health effects from exposure to cell phone radiation. Results from that study showed that rats developed tumors, gliomas (brain tumors) and malignant schwannomas of the heart. In addition, there was DNA damage in brain cells of exposed animals. This was concerning because studies in humans also found increases of the same types of cancers among cell phone users. In my view, this should raise public health concerns to a much higher level than exists now."

All wireless devices, from smartphones to Wi-Fi connected stuffed animals, are two-way microwave radios that send and receive a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation called radio frequency (RF) radiation. Children are particularly vulnerable to this type of radiation, which penetrates more deeply into children's brains than adults.

This holiday season, so-called "smart" toys are being pushed on the marketplace such as:

Cell Phones and Smartphones
Virtual Reality Headsets
Wi-Fi and cellphone connected Dolls
Tablets and iPads
Wireless Gaming Systems
Smart Watches

Environmental Health Trust Released New Factsheets for Parents:

Holiday Alert SmartPhones And Wi-Fi Toys
Holiday Toy Alert PDF Compilation of Factsheets

About Environmental Health Trust
EHT is a scientific virtual think tank conducting cutting-edge research on environmental health risks with some of the world's top researchers. EHT educates individuals, health professionals and communities about policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Currently, EHT is addressing health concerns about cell phones and wireless and recommends reducing exposure to reduce risk. The Environmental Health Trust maintains a regularly updated database of worldwide precautionary policies: more than a dozen countries recommend reducing wireless exposure to children.