Monday, July 20, 2015

Expert Forum on Cell Phone and Wireless Risks to Children

Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies—Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations? Should Parents, Teachers & Schools Restrict Technology Overuse Among Children?

Camilla Rees, Electromagnetic Health Blog, July 19, 2015

An Expert Forum on Cell Phone and Wireless Risks to Children was held at the Commonwealth Club of California on June 22, 2015. 

The focus was on the special risks to children and other vulnerable populations from cell phone and wireless exposures. It featured a special segment portraying actual dosimetry measurements of WiFi exposures in a school.

Panelists addressed the questions:
  • Should safety guidelines be strengthened to protect adults, children and vulnerable populations?
  • Should parents, teachers and schools restrict technology overuse among children?
The program was co-organized by and Environmental Health Trust in association with Citizens for Health, the California Brain Tumor Association and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, with the support of four of the Commonwealth Club’s Member-Led Forums: Health & Medicine, Environment & Natural Resources, Science & Technology and Business & Leadership.

Beyond the biological and health effects, the impacts on children and discussion of the adequacy of the IARC Group 2B ‘Possible Carcinogen’ classification, there was a special focus on the role that overuse of wireless technologies may be playing in attention, functional and relational difficulties and in exacerbating childhood psychiatric conditions. 
Panelist Dr. Victoria Dunckley is the author of a book on this subject published recently by New World Library, “Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time."

Links to the video of each presentation appear below in addition to a link to a podcast of the entire forum.


Dr. Bill Grant and Camilla Rees, MBA

PDF of opening remarks by Dr. Bill Grant, Commonwealth Club, Chair Health & Medicine

PDF of introductory remarks by Camilla Rees, MBA,

Panel 1 Theme: What are people—and especially children—experiencing today from cell phone use, wireless devices/computers, and exposure to wireless infrastructure? Are exposure guidelines adequate?

Erica Mallery-Blythe, MD, Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE), UK

Karl Maret, MEng, MD, Dove Health Alliance, USA

Victoria Dunckley, MD, Child Psychiatrist, USA

Panel 2 Theme: What is the latest EMF science telling us about the risks, the mechanisms of action, and the adequacy of the IARC warning?

Lloyd Morgan, BS, Environmental Health Trust, USA

Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, Environmental Health Trust, USA

Martin Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Washington State University, USA

Nesrin Seyhan, PhD,  Head of Biophysics Department & Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory, Medical Faculty, Gazi University, Turkey

Panel 3 Theme: Additional science and research in progress on electrosensitivity, and overview of what other countries are doing to protect children from a newly published study by Mary Redmayne, PhD, “International policy and advisory response regarding children’s exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF)."

Ellen Marks, California Brain Tumor Association, USA

Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, PhD, Professor, University of California, San Diego, USA
Video pending.

Suleyman Kaplan, PhD, Vice Rector, Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey

Mary Redmayne, PhD, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Monash University, Australia

Final Remarks: Domestic Policy Implications

Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director, Center for Family and Community Health, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Podcast of entire forum (3:27:32)

Gratitude to the Commonwealth Club for hosting this important public health program on the risks to children from cell phones and wireless technologies, and to the panelists from five countries and many disciplines of science and medicine who together present an invaluable depiction of the harm, and potential long-term additional risks, to children from widespread exposure to Radiofrequency Radiation from cell phones and wireless technologies.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Has the Smart Phone Replaced the Cigarette?

During the past year, I've done several reviews of papers submitted to journals that examined smartphone addiction among young adults. The studies were conducted in different countries. The wireless industry claims to have sold more than one billion smartphones last year. Thus smartphone addiction is quickly becoming a global public health issue.  

Now for some anecdotal observations ...  Yesterday, I observed student cell phone-related behavior while walking across the UC Berkeley campus to do a lecture on the health risks of cell phones. More than half of the students I passed were carrying or connected to a smart phone. Eighteen students carried the smart phone in their hand while they walked and were not using it. Eighteen students were wearing a wired headset connected to a device in their pants pocket. I could not tell whether or how they were using this device (which was likely a smart phone) as I kept walking. Finally, seven students were on a phone call holding their smart phone next to their ear.

While waiting outside a lecture hall for the prior class to leave, I observed many undergraduates browsing their smartphones to fill the time before their next class. As the lecture hall emptied out, many students pulled out their smartphones as soon as they exited the hall. 

If we rolled the clock back to 1960, what would I have observed walking across campus?  Would many of the students I described above been smoking cigarettes?  Have we substituted one addiction for an another? Has the smart phone replaced the cigarette?

BTW, I am proud to say that the UC Berkeley campus, along with the other UC campuses, has a tobacco-free policy. I did not observe any tobacco use on my trek across campus.

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, March 5, 2015



News Articles

Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children
Jane E. Brody, New York Times
July 6, 2015

Smartphones are addictive and should carry health warning, say academics

Haroon Siddique, T

Journal Articles

Zaheer Hussain. Smartphone Use, Addiction, Narcissism, and Personality: A Mixed Methods Investigation.International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning. 5(1):17-32. 2015.


There are increasing numbers of people who are now using smartphones. Consequently, there is a risk of addiction to certain web applications such as social networking sites (SNSs) which are easily accessible via smartphones. There is also the risk of an increase in narcissism amongst users of SNSs. 

The present study set out to investigate the relationship between smartphone use, narcissistic tendencies and personality as predictors of smartphone addiction. The study also aimed to investigate the distinction between addiction specificity and co-occurrence in smartphone addiction via qualitative data and discover why people continue to use smartphones in banned areas. A self-selected sample of 256 smartphone users (Mean age = 29.2, SD = 9.49) completed an online survey. 

The results revealed that 13.3% of the sample was classified as addicted to smartphones. Higher narcissism scores and neuroticism levels were linked to addiction. Three themes of; social relations, smartphone dependence and self-serving personalities emerged from the qualitative data. Interpretation of qualitative data supports addiction specificity of the smartphone. It is suggested smartphones encourage narcissism, even in non-narcissistic users. In turn, this increased use in banned areas. Future research needs to gather more in-depth qualitative data, addiction scale comparisons and comparison of use with and without SNS access. 

It is advised that prospective buyers of smartphones be pre-warned of the potential addictive properties of new technology.