COSMOS Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health Updates

As cell phones and other wireless devices become increasingly popular, there is a growing concern over the possible health impact of wireless technologies.  Science is still inconclusive on whether cell phone radiation is safe or harmful to humans. In the past decade, several large human studies have been carried out worldwide to examine possible links between cell phone use and brain cancer. Results from those studies are mixed and sometimes contradictory. Following a comprehensive review of the existing scientific evidence, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011, based on limited evidence of increased brain tumor risk in long-term cell phone users. New research data for heavy and long-term mobile phone use is needed in order to answer the question.

The COSMOS study is an international cohort study aiming to investigate whether there are health problems linked to long-term use of mobile phones. It is being conducted in six European countries – UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and France.

On the COSMOS website, it states that:

“Many reviews have concluded that there is no convincing evidence to date that mobile phones are harmful to health. However, the widespread use of mobile phones is a relatively recent phenomenon and it is possible that adverse health effects could emerge after years of prolonged use. Evidence to date suggests that short term (less than ten years) exposure to mobile phone emissions is not associated with an increase in brain and nervous system cancers. However, regarding longer term use, the evidence base necessary to allow us to make firm judgments has not yet been accumulated. There are still significant uncertainties that can only be resolved by monitoring the health of a large cohort of phone users over a long period of time.”

The COSMOS study received funding of 2,028,700.00 Euro from both the government and industry. The Study started on April 1 2008 and is currently in its 2nd 5-year period (until May 31 2019). A total of 290,000 adult mobile phone users were recruited across Europe. Participants are asked to fill in an online questionnaire about their health, lifestyle and use of wireless technology. The study team gained permission from the participants to access their mobile phone records through their mobile phone operators and medical records via the Health and Social Care Information Center (HSCIC). The interested health information includes symptoms, like headaches, sleep disorders, tinnitus and chronic disease such as cancer, benign tumors, neurological diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and stroke). Participants are contacted approximately once a year to update their details or to request additional information. The intension of the study is to follow participant’s health status for 20-30 years.

The Study has been making good progress over the past few years. It finished participant recruitment and baseline data collection at the end of 2012. A major follow-up questionnaire was developed during 2012. The follow-up questionnaire focuses on mobile phones and wireless technologies, but also collects data on other environmental exposures in order to answer wider environment and health questions. In 2013, the team received mobile phone traffic data for approximately 80% of the participants. The team focused on data analysis in 2014 and plans to launch their follow-up questionnaire in 2015.

Currently, COSMOS is the only prospective cohort study specifically designed to address the important unanswered questions concerning long-term health risk to the public from wireless technologies. More information about the Study can be found at http://www.ukcosmos.org/index.html.

Learn more about cell phone radiation on the Pong Pulse »

The Effect of Cell Phone Radiation On Your Brain’s Activity

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies cell phone radiation as a “possible human carcinogen” due to an increased risk of brain cancer from long-term and heavy use of cell phones. Although short-term cell phone exposure has not been shown to cause brain tumors, research is showing that it can change your brain activity in ways we don’t fully understand yet.

Human brain cells communicate via electrical impulses, which can be detected by non-invasive EEG (Electroencephalogram) measurements. A recent mobile phone study by researchers from Netherlands found that when a dialing mobile phone is placed on the ear, its radiation, although not consciously sensed, is electrically detected by the brain. In the study, 31 healthy females were exposed to a 3G mobile phone for 15 minutes and their EEG activity was measured. Changed brain activity (i.e. cortical reactivity increase) was detected immediately after radiation peaks, which are produced during the phone’s normal dialing process.

The Netherlands study is not the first one to show an EEG change as a result of acute exposure to cell phone radiation. In 2015 a French study showed that the brain EEG pattern (alpha band) is altered by GSM cell phone radiation; a 2013 Italian mobile phone study also demonstrated significant changes in brain activity (i.e. cortical excitability) induced by 45-min exposure to GSM mobile phone; a 2013 Australian study showed altered brain EEG (alpha band) by GSM-like RF radiation. A 2011 Australian study showed an effect of acute 2G and 3G exposure on human cognitive functions. A 2010 U.S. study found that pulsed radiation from ordinary mobile phone use can trigger human brain evoked potentials (Eps) as detected by EEG.

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is another tool used to study the effect of cell phone radiation on human brain activity. Using PET scans, a 2011 U.S. study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrated that 50 minutes of cell phone use changed human brain glucose metabolism in the region of brain closest to the phone antenna. A 2006 Finland study also showed that mobile phone radiation induced changes in cerebral blood flow in humans.

The evidence from above studies shows that the human brain is sensitive to cell phone radiation. The observed brain activity change cannot be explained by only a heating (or thermal) effect as a result of temperature rise from energy absorption. However, no underlying biological mechanism has been identified to explain the effects. We also don’t know what health consequence may be resulted from such repeated stimulations. More research is still needed to understand the mechanism and long-term health effects of cell phone radiation on humans. The current safety standard did not take into account any non-thermal effects, such as evidenced in the above studies. As of today there is no known safe level of exposure to cell phone radiation.

Here at Pong, we feel it is important to be aware that our brains are sensitive to cell phone radiation and long-term exposure can cause possible adverse health effects such as brain cancer. The best thing you can do now is to take a proactive stance to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation. There are ways to reduce your exposure to mobile phone radiation.  For some easy steps please refer to our article on tips to reduce mobile phone radiation exposure.  We think one of the best ways to limit your exposure is to use a radiation reduction phone case from Pong.

10 Tips to Limit Your Cell Phone Radiation Exposure

Exposure to cell phone radiation is a constant for most of us.  Our phone is with us all the time and is our connection to the world. Cell phones emit radio-frequency (RF) energy. When you hold your cell phone next to your head or wear it on your body, you can absorb over 50% of the transmitted RF energy. While cell phones bring enormous convenience to our lives, the possible health consequences of exposure to cell phone radiation have aroused considerable public attention and scientific debate.

Here at Pong, we feel that it is important to take precautionary steps to protect yourself and minimize your exposure while the cell phone radiation studies continue to gather data. So how to limit your exposure to cell phone radiation? The most effective, practical and proven way to protect yourself from exposure to cell phone radiation is to use a Pong radiation protection cell phone case. If you don’t have a Pong case yet, or one is not available for your particular mobile device, I have put together the following tips for things you can do in your daily life to help protect yourself and limit your exposure to cell phone radiation.

Avoid Body Contact

Follow the phone manufacturer’s warnings found in your owner’s manual and avoid using or carrying your cell phone against your head or body at all times.  Most recommend having at least 10mm of space between you and your phone.  That means you shouldn’t keep it in your pocket and women shouldn’t keep it in their bra.

Text More

Whenever possible, text rather than talk. When texting your phone will be likely held in your hand and further from your body.  This distance creates a much larger buffer between you and the powerful near field radiation from the phone.

Use Speaker Mode or a Wired Headset

If a call must be made, use the speakerphone or a wired headset.  When holding the phone against your head for a call you are increasing the amount of radiation your head will be absorbing.  Near field radiation from the phone is most concerning when the phone is against your body.  The speaker or wired headsets reduce the amount of near field radiation you are exposed to.

Shorter Calls

Limit the length of your cell phone conversations. This one is simple math.  Less time talking with a phone against your head equals less radiation going into your body.  Use a corded landline phone if available. Do not use a cordless phone for long conversations.

Limit Kids Cell Phone Use Time

Children should only use cell phones for emergencies or strictly in speaker mode at a safe distance. A child’s body is still developing and cell phone radiation penetrates a child’s brain more deeply than an adult brain.  Very few studies have been completed on the effect of this radiation on children’s development.

Switch Sides of Head When Talking

Switch sides regularly during a cell phone call to reduce radiation exposure to just one side of your head.  Most of us use the same hand all the time to hold the phone when we talk.  Try to switch to your other hand and it will help so that one side of your head doesn’t always get all the radiation.

Avoid Use When Low Signal

Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train. These scenarios cause mobile phones to increase their transmitting power in an attempt to connect to the nearest cell tower. You get more radiation and your battery drains faster under these conditions.

Wait For Call Connection

When making a call, wait for the call to connect before placing the phone next to the ear. The phone emits the most intense radiation during the initial connection, then lowers its power once a connection is established.  A couple extra seconds will go a long ways here.

Be Careful About “Shielding” Products

Follow FTC advice to avoid using products on your cell phone that claim to “shield” cell phone emissions, because they may interfere with the phone’s signal.  This may cause it to draw even more power and possibly emit more radiation as it is working harder to communicate.  (Note:  The Pong case does not shield radiation.  Instead it redirects and redistributes radiation, to reduce your exposure.)

Be Careful About What Case You Use

Do not use a cell phone case unless it has been proven not to increase SAR or weaken your cell phone signal. Many standard cases can weaken the cell phone’s signal, shorten battery life, or increase radiation emissions.

Use Airplane Mode

Turn your cell phone off or put it in airplane mode when not in use. If you must leave your cell phone on at night, keep your cell phone away from your head and body while you are sleeping. Your phone continues to emit radiation even when you are not making a call.

 

Should Cell Phone Radiation be Re-classified as a Probable Human Carcinogen (Group 2A)?

Cell phones are an indispensable part of our lives. The potential human health consequences of cell phone / mobile phone radiation exposure have become a topic of debate worldwide. Because our heads and bodies absorb more than 50% of the radiation from a cell phone in normal use, scientists have voiced concerns over whether or not cell phone radiation can cause brain tumors or other cancers.

IARC Classifications

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorizes agents into five categories: Group 1: carcinogenic to humans; Group 2A: probably carcinogenic to humans; Group 2B: possibly carcinogenic to humans; Group 3: not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans; and Group 4: probably not carcinogenic to humans. Both Group 2A and Group 2B classifications mean that there is some chance that an agent can cause cancer but we are not completely sure yet. Compared to Group 2B, Group 2A means more evidence toward a higher chance of cancer risk. An example of Group 2A agents is UV radiation, and an example of Group 2B agents is lead.

In 2011, the IARC classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The classification was mainly based on two lines of evidence at that time. The first was from a 13-country international study coordinated by the IARC known as the Interphone Study, which found a 40% increased risk of brain tumor called glioma for “heavy” cell phone users—which the study defined as an accumulated 1,640 hours or more life-time cell phone use, which is equivalent to about half-an-hour daily use for 10 years. (The proliferation of cell phone technology since the Interphone Study, of course, would consider this level of usage less than “heavy” by current standards.) The other line of evidence came from studies by Prof. Hardell in Sweden, which also found significantly increased risk of brain tumors for such long-term and heavy cell phone users.

The Debate

However, a 2015 mobile phone radiation study published in the International Journal of Oncology disagreed with the current IARC classification and believed that cell phone radiation should be reclassified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (group 2A) instead.

The study based its Group 2A argument on new scientific evidence that strengthened the association between cell phone radiation exposure and brain tumors. The new evidence was from a 2014 French study known as the CERENAT Study published in the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which found increased risk of brain tumors for the “heaviest” cell phone users—which the study defined as those whose life-long cumulative duration of cell phone use is 896 hours or more, substantially below the level denoted as “heavy” use in the Interphone Study. Specifically, the CERENAT Study found an increased risk in those who had prolonged use, made numerous calls, whose use was especially occupational and more often in urban areas.

This study was not the first to argue that the IARC classification of cell phone radiation as a “possible carcinogen” should be raised to a “probable carcinogen” level. Last year, Dr. Dariusz Leszczynski, one of the 31 scientists invited by the IARC to classify cell phone radiation, also argued in his 2014 blog post that there were 3 independent lines of evidence (the Interphone Study, the studies by Prof. Hardell in Sweden and the CERENAT Study) reaching similar conclusions that long-term heavy cell phone use increases the risk of developing brain cancer and the evidence was sufficient to classify cell phone radiation as a probable human carcinogen (Group 2A). He further claimed that “three replicates of the epidemiological evidence makes human evidence strong and some might say that the human evidence is now sufficient to put the cell phone radiation in the category of human carcinogen (Group 1).”

New Study Underway

The best way to resolve the classification argument is through further research. A new international study (the COSMOS Study) is underway to address the important unanswered questions concerning the long-term public health risks from wireless technologies. The study started on April 1, 2008 and is currently in its second 5-year period (ending May 31, 2019). A total of 290,000 adult mobile phone users were recruited across Europe. The study plans to follow the participants’ health status for 20 to 30 years. The outcome from the COSMOS Study will provide further insight into the most appropriate classification of cell phone radiation.

Reduce Your Exposure

Here at Pong, we think cell phones are wonderful gadgets but remain concerned about the health effects of cell phone radiation. While waiting for more study outcomes, we expect a continuous debate on this subject. Meanwhile, we advise you to minimize your exposure to cell phone radiation. A Pong cell phone radiation reduction case can significantly reduce your cell phone radiation exposure in this regard.

Berkeley, California, Approves “Right to Know” Cell Phone Radiation Warning Ordinance

In California, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to require retailers to warn customers of possible radiation exposure when purchasing cell phones on Tuesday May 12, 2015.  The ordinance is expected to be challenged by the cell phone industry.

Read the full story »

International EMF Scientist Appeal For Protection from Non-ionizing Electromagnetic Field Exposure

On May 11, 2015, 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an “International EMF Scientist Appeal” to the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.N. member states requesting they develop more protective exposure guidelines, encourage precautionary measures and educate the public about health risks of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing scientific evidence of harmful effects and health risks.

Read the full appeal >>

Meet Cell Phone Radiation Expert Dr. Rong Wang

At Pong, the science of mobile device antennas—and ensuring that they interact optimally with both wireless networks and users–is our core focus. We use our deep scientific expertise to protect people from cell phone radiation, and we are proud to have a team of experts covering a range of related disciplines. You may have seen some of Dr. Rong Wang’s articles here on the Pong Pulse, and now we would like officially to introduce her to you.

Dr. Rong WangDr. Rong Wang is the Chief Science Officer for Pong Research. She is a leading member of our scientific team and has been involved with Pong since its inception. Dr. Wang is responsible for the scientific integrity of Pong’s published content and serves as lead technical/scientific writer and media representative on scientific matters. She also participates in product research and development and helps identify and qualify new technologies and applications complementary to Pong. She is our resident expert on the biological and health effects of cell phone radiation and the ongoing studies surrounding this subject.

Background & Training
Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. from the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department of MIT, jointly from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 2005. Prior to that, she received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from Tsinghua University in China. Prior to Pong, Dr. Wang spent 5 years in a Los Angeles laboratory as Project Manager and Senior Scientist where she played an important role in a number of technology innovations ranging from medical isotopes to cell phone antenna technology.

Work with Pong
Dr. Wang’s unique and solid training in both engineering and health disciplines from MIT and Harvard empowered her to work with a team of colleagues to develop the early prototypes for Pong’s internationally patented coupling antenna technology. Through her extensive education and research she has become an expert in the field of biological and health effects of radiation, including cell phone radiation.

Dr. Wang is very excited about the opportunity to apply her knowledge and expertise to the field of wireless wellness and performance.  She has already written extensively for the Pong Blog and continues to monitor the ongoing studies around the health effects of cell phone radiation.  We’ve included links to some of her most impactful posts below.

 

 

How Do Cell Phone Cases Affect Your Radiation Exposure and Your Phone’s Performance?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report on the effect cell phone cases have on the amount of radiation your cell phone emits. The study speaks to the concern that cell phone cases can weaken the phone’s signal and actually increase the users’ radiation exposure as the phone tries harder to communicate.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report on the effect cell phone cases have on the amount of radiation your cell phone emits.  The study speaks to the concern that cell phone cases can weaken the phone’s signal and actually increase the users’ radiation exposure as the phone tries harder to communicate.

The Pong case was born out of our concerns around exposure to cell phone radiation and the effects it may be having on us.   Through countless hours of testing and work by our team of scientists, physicists, and engineers, we invented a technology that reduces cell phone radiation exposure while maintaining the device’s signal strength.

During research and testing we found that any cell phone cases can impact the radiation properties of a wireless device in an uncontrolled way.  Our research indicates that badly designed cell phone cases can partially block a phone’s antenna, making the device work harder to transmit signals.  This means that in those situations there may be potentially more radiation coming from the phone as it tries to maintain its signal.

Established in 1996, current FCC testing standards already account for accessories such as belt clips and holsters, which were pervasive in the 1990s, but not for cases, which did not exist then. Today, most consumers use cases, while belt clips and holsters are much less common.  Due to gaps in the FCC’s cell phone regulations, a phone worn right next to the body and enclosed by a case that obstructs the antenna could expose the user to more radiation than the FCC’s legal limit.

Pong urged the FCC to take into account cell phone cases during its compliance testing process to ensure that consumers are protected under normal operating conditions.  We have been concerned about this and we are happy to see that we are not alone.  The new article from EWG was done independent of Pong but resonates with Pong for concern on this issue.  EWG conducted its own research and drew data from published information including Pong’s filings to the FCC.

We encourage you to read their article found via the link below.

Does Your Cell Phone Case Raise Your Radiation Exposure?

 

Study Shows Blood Abnormalities from Short-Term Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation

We use our cell phones every day. As we talk on our phones, hold them, or just carry them in our pocket, cell phones are constantly emitting RF radiation – – and we are constantly absorbing some of that radiation. Is that radiation having an effect on us? Should we be concerned about what cell phone radiation might be doing to us? Yes, we absolutely think so! Cell phone radiation is something we take very seriously here at Pong. We are closely monitoring new studies on how cell phone radiation affects our bodies.

What could cell phone radiation be doing to our blood? You may be surprised to find out, but to date very little research has looked into this effect. A new study released in January 2015 focused very specifically on the effects of cell phone radiation on human blood. This study comes up with some startling information about the impact that short-term cell phone radiation can have on our blood cells. We found this very concerning so we asked our chief scientist Dr. Rong Wang to review the study and give us her thoughts on it.

We use our cell phones every day. As we talk on our phones, hold them, or just carry them in our pocket, cell phones are constantly emitting RF radiation – – and we are constantly absorbing some of that radiation. Is that radiation having an effect on us? Should we be concerned about what cell phone radiation might be doing to us? Yes, we absolutely think so! Cell phone radiation is something we take very seriously here at Pong. We are closely monitoring new studies on how cell phone radiation affects our bodies.

What could cell phone radiation be doing to our blood? You may be surprised to find out, but to date very little research has looked into this effect. A new study released in January 2015 focused very specifically on the effects of cell phone radiation on human blood. This study comes up with some startling information about the impact that short-term cell phone radiation can have on our blood cells. We found this very concerning so we asked our chief scientist Dr. Rong Wang to review the study and give us her thoughts on it.

Continue reading “Study Shows Blood Abnormalities from Short-Term Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation”

New Study Found Tripled Brain Tumor Risk for Long-Term Cell Phone Users

A 2014 Swedish study involving 1498 malignant brain tumor patients and 3,530 controls (people without a brain tumor) found an increased risk of malignant brain tumor associated with long-term use of cell phones and cordless phones. The study analyzed data from two previous studies with patients diagnosed between 1997-2003 and 2007-2009 in Sweden. The pooled analysis showed a clear trend of higher risk with longer wireless phone use. Specifically, the risk was 3 times higher for people who used wireless phones for 25 years or longer. The results resonate with a 2014 French study which found that heavy cell phone users (with 896 hours or more cumulative call time, or about half an hour daily use for 5 years) were 2-3 times more likely to develop a glioma (the most common type of malignant brain tumor), compared to non-regular users.

Continue reading “New Study Found Tripled Brain Tumor Risk for Long-Term Cell Phone Users”