Today is Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. It has been a landmark day for thousands of years in many different cultures’ calendars, since it has to do with the natural rhythms of nature and is not a manmade date. I believe when there is much darkness on the outside, it is a good reminder to be in touch with the light within. Our inner light is always there, no matter how dark it is on the outside. Today I had my yoga students hold some poses for a while with their eyes closed, to feel the inner light. And as we move through this time, and find the light in unexpected places and where we didn’t think it could be- the light then starts to come back, more and more.

Besides Winter Solstice, the topic of cell phones was on my mind. I saw a story yesterday that a Maine state legislator is pushing to have a warning on cell phones that they may cause brain cancer.

My mother has been preaching to me about cell phone dangers for years, when I first even got a cell phone. She insists on me sticking an anti-radiation button thing on my phone, which is supposed to help reduce the massive amounts of radiation that cell phones emit. Well who knows if it really works or not, but I’ll take all the help I can get! What’s chilling to me is that we have to remember that back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, information that tobacco was extremely harmful was not widely reported. People smoked away, only to learn decades later how carcinogenic smoking really was.

Of course, the Wireless Association claims cell phones are safe. But we do all have to look out for our own health. After all, foods laden with toxic chemicals and additives are also legally considered “safe.”

The fact is that our cell phones are microwave transmitters. Microwave energy oscillates at millions to billions of cycles per second. The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry reports that these frequencies may cause cancer and other diseases by interfering with cellular DNA and its repair mechanisms. Microwave promotes rapid cell aging. Italian scientists have recently demonstrated that cell phone radiation makes cancerous cells grow aggressively. Cordless phones marked 900 megahertz or 2.4 gigahertz emit the same dangerous microwave radiation as cell phones.

Research by University of Washington professor Dr. Henry Lai shows brain cells are clearly damaged by microwave levels far below the U.S. government’s “safety” guidelines. Dr. Lai notes that even tiny doses of radio frequency can accumulate over time and lead to harmful effects. He warns that public exposure to radiation from wireless transmitters “should be limited to minimal.”

Independent tests show that cell phones can also leak huge amounts of radiation from the keypad and mouthpiece. This radiation deeply penetrates brain, ear and eye tissues, which are especially susceptible to microwave damage. Belt clip cases allow cell phones to deliver radiation to the liver or kidney areas.

Recent studies confirm that cell and cordless phone microwave can: Damage nerves in the scalp, cause blood cells to leak hemoglobin, cause memory loss and mental confusion, cause headaches and induce extreme fatigue, create joint pain, muscle spasms and tremors, create burning sensation and rash on the skin, alter the brain’s electrical activity during sleep, induce ringing in the ears, impair sense of smell, precipitate cataracts, retina damage and eye cancer, open the blood-brain barrier to viruses and toxins, reduce the number and efficiency of white blood cells, stimulate asthma by producing histamine in mast cells, cause digestive problems and raise bad cholesterol levels, stress the endocrine system, especially pancreas, thyroid, reproductive organs. GEEZ! ANYTHING ELSE??

There is a lot of research on the cell phone subject in Europe. Spanish researchers have shown that cell phones can alter electrical activity of a child’s brain for hours, causing drastic mood changes and possible behavior and learning disabilities. Insurance studies in England showed that an average driver talking on a cell is actually more impaired in function and reaction time than a drunk. Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority reports that one hour of exposure to mobile phone radiation can cause human cells to shrink. Researchers believe this is due to increased protein activity, an indicator of cell damage. Studies done in Sweden that date back five or six years concluded that there is not an increased brain tumor risk from using cell phones, he says.

Brain cancer rates in USA have increased by 25% since 1975. In 2001, 185,000 Americans were diagnosed with some form of brain cancer. A grade four brain tumor can grow from the size of a grape to tennis ball size in just 4 months.

Could cell phones today be what tobacco was 70 years ago?

The National Cancer Institute says studies until now have turned up inconsistent results. “Although research has not consistently demonstrated a link between cellular telephone use and cancer, scientists still caution that further surveillance is needed before conclusions can be drawn,” says the NCI’s Web site. Hmmm….

Well what can we do to protect our own health? Since the reality is that we are all going to use cell phones anyway (including me)!

–    Use a wired headset whenever possible. Avoid using Bluetooth, which will continue to attract radiation. Be sure to get wired headsets for your children, which are especially susceptible to radiation. The other option is to try to use speaker phone in private settings as much as you can (you don’t want to be that annoying person doing that in public of course!).

–    Text when you can instead of making more calls! Texting doesn’t expose you to the same level of radiation, because we obviously aren’t pressing the phone right up to our head!

–    Use your land line when you are home (of course a lot of us New Yorkers, such as myself, don’t even have a land line! So this one doesn’t apply to us).

–    When you’re talking on your cell, periodically switch your phone from ear to ear.

I hope this helps information helps protect you and your family, and that you start to employ some of these precautions!

Something to think about in the new year coming ahead, and probably provide some headache relief. Happy Holidays!

In health and love,