START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
May 4, 2007
Focus: Health
Action Request: Think About
Location: Germany

> Germans worried about the health effects of mobiles
> A new poll shows most Germans are convinced their mobiles are a health
> threat and worry more about so-called 'Elektrosmog' than terrorism.
> Ernest Gill asks why cell phones are making everyone so nervous.

> There are now more mobile phones in Germany than there are Germans and
> a new poll shows most Germans are convinced their mobiles are slowly
> killing them.
> In the nation that invented the word "angst," the fear barometer of
> the respected Emnid Institute is a well-known gauge of German angst
> levels. The latest Emnid survey shows that, despite terrorism jitters,
> more Germans are afraid of harmful effects from mobiles than of the
> threat of radical Islamic terrorists.
> Well, I don't know about you, but I'm switching mine off.
> A whopping 55 per cent said they believe cell phones emit harmful
> levels of electromagnetic and low-level microwave radiation. Germans
> even have a word for this unseen killer: "Elektrosmog."
> In contrast to their fear of insidious Elektrosmog, just 38 per cent
> believe Germany faces any imminent terrorist threat.
> And that Elektrosmog percentage level was nationwide, both rural and
> urban. In urban areas the angst levels are much higher. In the major
> port of Hamburg, which has a population of nearly 2 million, Emnid
> researchers found that 82 per cent are convinced their mobiles pose a
> serious health threat.
> Ironically, the survey findings coincide with figures from the
> telecommunications industry showing that there are now more than 90
> million mobiles in Germany, compared to 82 million human beings.
> A quarter of those human beings - presumably infants and inmates and
> invalids - still have no mobile. That means the vast majority of
> Germans have at least one mobile phone if not two or more.
> And mobile ownership is higher in eastern Germany where, after the
> fall of the Berlin Wall, many people went from having no individual
> home phone connection of their own at all to having only mobiles,
> bypassing landlines entirely.
> So for millions of Germans, mobiles are their only link with the
> outside world. And most Germans are convinced they are carrying
> Elektrosmog emitters around with them in their purses and pockets
> every day.
>  This national angst has been fuelled by frightening new findings by
> the renowned Max Planck Institute revealing that mobile phone
> emissions do appear in fact to have a deleterious effect, at least on
> synthetic cell membranes.
> Researchers say that longterm exposure to low-level phone emissions at
> very close range resulted in an elevation of membrane temperature to
> the boiling point of water.
> "That indicates an emission level 100 times higher than previously
> thought possible," said Max Planck Institute director Markus
> Antonietti.
> The findings allegedly show that localized radiation can result in
> even higher temperatures - up to 10,000 degrees Celsius - for
> exceedingly brief periods of a fraction of a second in very isolated
> cell structures.
> "And the energy from mobiles disrupts molecules so thoroughly that
> cell membranes can in fact rupture," he added.
> He cautioned against panic, saying that further research is needed on
> human cell membranes.
> "But we are now aware of a mechanism that could potentially lead to
> cell damage," Antonietti said. "As a scientist, I am concerned. I'm
> not letting my kids use their mobiles more than five minutes a day."
> New reports of the shocking findings were plastered over tabloid front
> pages and were trumpeted on radio and television newscasts - and via
> instant text-messaging to mobile users throughout the land.
> Afternoon TV talk shows have been full of helpful hints on how to
> reduce Elektrosmog, for example by holding your mobile at arm's length
> to dial or to transmit text-messages or by keeping your mobile in one
> of those lead-lined bags that photographers use to protect film from
> airport X-rays.
> The airwaves have been filled with man-in-the-street interviews with
> mobile-users, not all of whom seemed to share the national sense of
> angst.
> "My wife calls me a dozen times a day at work on my mobile," said
> Christian Saenger, himself a molecular biologist in Hamburg.
> "Afterwards I always have a headache. It must be that nasty
> Elektrosmog," he said wryly. "I think I'll tell her I'm turning it off
> to prevent brain-cell damage."
> 7 September 2006
> Copyright DPA with Expatica 2006
> Subject: German news, mobile phones, health in Germany
Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: May 4, 2007 3:14am
Nov 5, 2006
Focus: Health
Action Request: Various
Location: United States
Heavy mobile use 'damages sperm'
Heavy use of mobile phones may damage men's fertility, a study has suggested.

Researchers found those men who used a phone for four hours or more a day had fewer sperm and those they had moved less well and were of poorer quality.

The Ohio study involving 364 men was presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in New Orleans.

But a UK expert said it was unlikely the phones were to blame, as they were in use and not near the testes, and it may be being sedentary was the cause.

The team from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio tested the sperm of 364 men who were being treated at fertility clinics in Mumbai, India, with their partners.

It was found that the heaviest users, those who used their phones for more than four hours a day had the lowest average sperm counts, at 50 million per millilitre (ml) and the least healthy sperm.

Men who used their phones for between two and four hours a day averaged sperm counts of 69 million per ml and had moderately healthy sperm.

Those who said they did not use mobile phones at all had the highest average sperm counts, of 86 million per ml, and their sperm was of the highest quality seen.

'Used without thinking twice'

Dr Ashok Agarwal, who led the research, told the New Orleans conference the study did not prove mobiles damaged fertility, but said it showed more research was warranted.

"There was a significant decrease in the most important measures of sperm health and that should definitely be reflected in a decrease in fertility, which is seen worldwide.

"People use mobile phones without thinking twice what the consequences might be.

"It is just like using a toothbrush, but mobiles could be having a devastating effect on fertility.

"It still has to be proved, but it could be having a huge impact because mobiles are so much part of lives."

He suggested radiation from mobile phones might harm sperm by damaging DNA, affecting the cells in the testes which produce testosterone or the tubes where sperm is produced.

But a British expert cast doubt on the suggested link between mobile phone use and infertility in the men studied.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is a good study, but I don't think it tackles the issue.

"If you're using your phone for four hours a day, presumably it is out of your pocket for longer.

"That raises a big question: how is it that testicular damage is supposed to occur?"

Dr Pacey, who is honorary secretary of the British Fertility Society, added: "If you are holding it up to your head to speak a lot, it makes no sense that it is having a direct effect on your testes."

He added that people who use phones for longer might be more sedentary, more stressed or eat more junk food, which might be more likely explanations for the link found in the study.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Nov 5, 2006 6:56am


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