Children are far more vulnerable to the damaging effects of electromagnetic fields (“EMFs”) than we are. Your child’s brain absorbs two to three times as many EMFs as yours, and sources of exposure are everywhere. What can you do?
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By Valerie Burke
©2023 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Sign up for the GreenMedInfo newsletter HERE.
Is your child’s favourite pastime screen time? Are you concerned about how much cumulative exposure your kids have to electromagnetic radiation at home and at school from computers, cell phones, tablets, electronic toys, cell towers, power lines and the like?
If not, you should be!
Children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of EMF (electromagnetic frequencies or fields) for a number of reasons, and most are submerged in an electro smog soup all day, every day. What are the risks?
Very few human studies have focused specifically on mobile or cell phone towers and cancer risk, but the latest studies about cell phones and brain cancer are very disturbing.
In 2016, the National Toxicology Program released the results from the largest cell phone study ever performed showing an undeniable association between nonionizing radiation and cancer. Rats exposed to the frequency of radiation emitted by cell phones developed two kinds of tumours: gliomas in the brain and schwannomas in the heart. These results align with several observational studies finding links to the same types of tumours in humans – plus acoustic neuromas and meningiomas.
You may have seen the news stories of late about cell towers near schools. A cancer cluster among young children at Weston Elementary School in Ripon, California, led to the shutdown and planned relocation of a Sprint cell tower.[i]
In 2016, one child from that school named Kyle Prime was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Five months later, his classmate Mason Ferrulli received a diagnosis of brain cancer. Two more kids and three teachers from Weston Elementary have received cancer diagnoses since 2016, along with two preschool-age children that live near the school, and a former student who was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 22.
Many Ripon parents believe the recent flurry of cancer cases was caused by radiation from radio frequency (“RF”) waves coming from a cell tower located right on the school grounds. Their vociferous concerns and the resulting media attention forced the shutdown of that cell tower, but how many other schools are silently situated in the shadow of DNA-twisting, cancer-smouldering cell towers across the USA?
Cell towers are only part of the problem. The amount of exposure from living near a cell phone tower is typically many times lower than the exposure from using a cell phone, and far more children are glued to their cell phones than live in the shadow of cell towers. According to the Pew Research Centre, the vast majority of teens have a cell phone and 45 per cent are online on a near continuous basis. They also report that 75 per cent of preteens and early teens sleep all night with their cell phone under their pillow.[ii]
One study reportedly found that using a cell phone for just 20 minutes per day increased an individual’s brain tumour risk by 300 percent over the course of five years. But this is among adults… what about our children?
Children’s Brains are Far More Sensitive to EMFs
Years before kids ever lay hands on a cell phone, they are playing with MWR-emitting toys (microwave radiation). These wireless “toys” are literally radio transmitters. Concerns have been raised about the increased vulnerability of children to RF and MWR fields.
Kids face a greater risk than adults for bodily injury from all these wireless devices. Their developing nervous systems have a greater susceptibility to damage as their brain tissue is more conductive and more absorbent, and their cranial bones thinner than those of adults. Children also look forward to longer cumulative exposure.[iii] [iv]
In 2011, MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen – the same category as lead, DDT and chloroform. Children are at greater risk from exposure to carcinogens than adults, and the younger your child, the higher her risk. The following is research data about children and EMF absorption:
- Children’s brain tissue absorbs twice as much MWR as adults’[v]
- Children’s bone marrow absorbs 10 times more MWR than adults
- A child’s hippocampus and hypothalamus absorb 1.6 to 3.1 more MWR than an adult’s, and his cerebellum absorbs 2.5 times more[vi] [vii]
- Children’s eyes also absorb more MWR than adults’ eyes
Health risks from EMFs are not limited to cancer. EMFs have been linked to infertility, DNA damage, autoimmune issues, reduced tissue repair [viii], neurological dysfunction, cognitive problems, emotional and behavioural issues, fatigue, cataracts, macular degeneration, and more. Children are more vulnerable to the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional effects of EMFs. ADHD, anxiety, and behavioural problems are on the rise. According to CDC, 9.4 per cent of children aged 2-17 years have received an ADHD diagnosis, and 7.1 per cent have been diagnosed with anxiety.[ix]
Studies show how “digital addiction” leads to structural and functional changes in the brain that involve emotional processing, executive attention, decision-making, and cognitive control.[x] Even teens themselves report feeling these effects! According to the Pew poll, without their cell phones, 56 per cent of teens report at least one of these three emotions: loneliness, feeling upset or feeling anxious.
Paul Rosch, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at New York Medical College, reports the following: [xi]
A two-minute call can alter brain function in a child for an hour, which is why other countries ban their sale or discourage their use under the age of 18. Children born to mothers who used a cell phone just two or three times a day during pregnancy showed a dramatic increase in hyperactivity and other behavioural and emotional problems. And for the 30 percent of children who had also used a cell phone by age 7, the incidence of behavioural problems was 80 percent higher!
It does not help that governmental and/or industry regulations have not been updated for twenty years. According to David Carpenter, MD, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health at the University of Albany, and co-editor of The Bioinitiative Report: [xii]
Unfortunately, all of our exposure standards are based on the false assumption that there are no hazardous effects at intensities that do not cause tissue heating. Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to Wi-Fi and other wireless devices.
Thus, it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of Wi-Fi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue cannot be underestimated.
What Can We Do?
First and foremost, we can unplug our children, limit their screen time, and give them some digital detox. We can send them outside to play. Like the parents from Ripon, we can speak out about cell towers on school campuses. We can make our voices heard about the potentially devastating risks of 5G, the next generation of wireless technology with monumentally alarming risks to people and the planet.[xiii] Say no to Wi-Fi baby monitors – they’re just not worth it.
We can lower our exposure to EMFs, but we cannot eliminate them – reducing exposure is the ONLY sure-fire way to minimise the danger for ourselves and our children.
To deal with the unavoidable, we need as many tools in our tool bag as possible – and shungite is my personal favourite. Shungite is a rare natural mineral from Russia shown to transform manmade EMFs into more biologically compatible frequencies. Shungite Queen has a line of shungite items specifically designed for children.
The average latency time between first exposure and diagnosis of a tumour can be decades – tumours induced in children may not be diagnosed until well into adulthood. What you do for them today could have profound effects tomorrow, so the time to protect them is now.
Consider these 3 facts:
- Top independent scientists argue that EMFs should be classified as a Class 1 “Definite carcinogen”, next to tobacco and asbestos
- Children’s heads absorb twice the radiation compared to adults. Regardless of that fact, a 2014 survey by the AAP showed that up to 75% of 4-year-old children already own a cell phone!
- EMF safety standards have not been updated since 1996 and are based on a 220-pound adult.
We can’t put our heads in the sand anymore. For additional research on the potential health risks posed by electromagnetic fields, visit the GreenMedInfo database on the subject.
- [i] CBS News. “After Several Childhood Cancer Cases at One School, Parents Question Radiation from Cell Tower.” CBS News. April 04, 2019. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cell-tower-shut-down-some-california-parents-link-to-several-cases-of-childhood-cancer/
- [ii] Jiang, Jingjing. “How Teens and Parents Navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. November 30, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/08/22/how-teens-and-parents-navigate-screen-time-and-device-distractions/
- [iii] Kheifets, L., Repacholi, M., Saunders, R., & van Deventer, E. (2005). The sensitivity of children to electromagnetic fields. Pediatrics, 116(2), 303-313. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/UC/ITEM/9WV131H2
- [iv] Rosenberg, Suzanne. “Cell Phones and Children: Follow the Precautionary Road.” CNE, Pediatric Nursing (March-April 2013); 39(2): 65-70; http://www.pediatricnursing.net/ce/2015/article39026570.pdf
- [v] Morgan, L. Llyod. “Why Children Absorb More Microwave Radiation than Adults.” Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine30, no. 3 (2013): 270. doi:10.5835/jecm.omu.30.03.016
- [vi] Christ, Andreas, Marie-Christine Gosselin, Maria Christopoulou, Sven Kühn, and Niels Kuster. “Age-dependent Tissue-specific Exposure of Cell Phone Users.” Physics in Medicine and Biology55, no. 7 (2010): 1767-783. doi:10.1088/0031-9155/55/7/001
- [vii] Gandhi, Om P., L. Lloyd Morgan, Alvaro Augusto De Salles, Yueh-Ying Han, Ronald B. Herberman, and Devra Lee Davis. “Exposure Limits: The Underestimation of Absorbed Cell Phone Radiation, Especially in Children.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine31, no. 1 (2011): 34-51. doi:10.3109/15368378.2011.622827.
- [viii] Johansson, Olle. “Disturbance of the Immune System by Electromagnetic Fields–A Potentially Underlying Cause for Cellular Damage and Tissue Repair Reduction Which Could Lead to Disease and Impairment.” Pathophysiology16, no. 2-3 (August 2009): 157-77. doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.03.004
- [ix] “Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
- [x] “Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain.” Psychology Today. February 27, 2014. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain
- [xi] “Quotes from Experts.” Electromagnetichealth.org. July 18, 2010. Accessed April 22, 2019. http://electromagnetichealth.org/quotes-from-experts/
- [xii] “The BioInitiative Report” 2012. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://bioinitiative.org/
- [xiii] Pall, Martin L., PhD. “5G: Great Risk for EU, U.S. and International Health …” May 17, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/5g-emf-hazards-dr-martin-l.-pall-eu-emf2018-6-11us3.pdf
About the Author
Valerie Burke, MSN is a freelance health writer in Olympia, Washington, with backgrounds in both allopathic and integrative medicine and a master’s degree in nursing science. Her areas of interest include nutrition, energy psychology, EMF protection, and integrating principles of holistic health to create balance in mind, body and spirit. You can learn more about her at www.shungitequeen.com
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