Think Twice About Mobile Phones for Kids

March 10, 2010
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

86521729Don’t let dangerous radiation “cook” growing brains.

A startling new Swedish study shows that young people are 5 times more likely to get brain tumors if they use a cell phone before they’re 20. And cordless phones also emit dangerous radiation.

Research finds that children’s brains absorb twice as much radiation from these phones as adult brains. Not only do youngsters have thinner skulls and smaller heads than adults, but their brains also continue developing during childhood and adolescence—only increasing their risk.

With kids spending “significant time on mobile phones,” warns David Carpenter, MD, dean of SUNY’s School of Public Health, “we may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers.”

Testifying before Maine’s Health and Human Services Committee a few days ago, Camilla Rees (coauthor of Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution) admitted, “It is possible society will look back on the unchecked proliferation of radiation-emitting cellular phones—as a crime against humanity.”

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Parents love cell phones because this technology allows them to reach their kids—and to be reached—in emergencies. But we all need to remember that children aren’t just tiny versions of adults.

Would you let your child put his/her head in a microwave oven?

What you may not know is that radiation from cell phones is comparable to microwaves—like those from your oven. These kinds of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can penetrate kids’ brains.

One study found that a cell phone call lasting only a couple of minutes resulted in brain hyperactivity in children for as long as an hour. EMFs can cause breaks in the blood-brain barrier, which is more permeable in kids.

No wonder that Maine is considering legislation requiring warning labels on cell phones sold there—and cautioning that children and pregnant women keep wireless devices away from their heads and bodies.

Calling cell phone safety “the next frontier,” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to introduce a bill requiring phones to display how much radiation they emit. I just wish more officials would follow his leadership.

A Growing Problem
Approximately 277 million Americans use cell phones today. While independent research is rare in this country, multiple reports from Europe’s premier research institutions suggest growing risks at any age.

Cell phones and PDAs are being linked to “brain aging” (early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and other brain damage), as well as DNA damage. Based on his research, Swedish neurosurgeon Leif Salford, MD, is concerned that “a whole generation of [cell-phone] users may suffer negative side effects in middle age.”

A new study in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery suggests that EMFs may also have harmful effects on bone density, making it “better to keep mobile phones as far as possible from the body.” And experts even link this kind of radiation to sperm die-off. So guys, get these gadgets out of your pants pockets!

“As our knowledge stands right now, interaction with fertility, the immune capacity, shattering of DNA, or impaired learning and intelligence will be much more dangerous than the extra cases of cancer,” adds radiation researcher Kerry Crofton, PhD.

Simple Solutions
Use speaker mode on all cell or cordless phones. And whenever possible, limit your kids’ use of these phones only to emergencies.

Defend your children and yourself against invisible EMF assaults with antioxidant shields. Eating one cup of blueberries is a good start. Animal studies have also found that cranberries—so useful in Fat Flush— can protect brain cells from free radical damage, helping to prevent the kind of cognitive loss associated with cell phone radiation.

Eat more cabbage family veggies—broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale—to boost glutathione. Cabbages also contain caffeic acid, shown to reduce harmful effects from cell phone use.

For added protection, enjoy a daily smoothie that contains 1 to 2 scoops of whey, rich in the antioxidant glutathione, a potent scavenger of free radicals that damage DNA. Choose pure, undenatured and unheated whey protein powder to preserve fragile amino acids and provide optimal immune support.

Melatonin—the hormone that controls circadian rhythms in sleep and wake cycles—also protects against this kind of radiation. Tart cherries are rich in melatonin as well as other antioxidants.

Besides protecting your bones, vitamin D fights EMFs. Look for calcitrol, the active form of vitamin D, to activate the immune response that cell phone radiation tamps down.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Angela

    What about diodes? Do they really help with the EMF’s emitted from cell phones?

  2. Shawna

    What about using headsets? How far away from your body does the cell phone have to be to stop harmful EMF emissions? Also, does this only happen when the cell phone is in use or if it’s just on idle?

    I’ve seen the videos with people making fun of this by popping kernals of popcorn that are positioned in the middle of two or more cell phones while they are ringing waiting for a call to be accepted. Check out Youtube for these videos. These people think it’s funny, but I don’t. I’m concerned.

  3. Jan

    We’ve gotten rid of our cordless phones in our house, but it’s awfully hard to get teens to give up their cell phones.

    Because of our family plan, at least we know how many minutes they spend, and for alot of reasons we encourage them to text.

  4. Susan

    My daughter has been bugging me for a cell phone since she was in the 4th grade. I didn’t see a need for it then and I don’t see a need for it now that she is in high school. Never mind the health issues -which do concern me- but what about what it is doing to them socially? We are fortunate that she goes to a very small school where the kids are encouraged to use the office phone in an emergency, but I know in most schools it is not that way. My friend’s daughter was told to “find a phone” when she went into her school office with a sprained ankle. In a sense we have turned these kids into the phone addicts they’ve become by either giving them a phone too early or not allowing them access to one when it is necessary. Some rehab places are now implementing phone addict programs along side their drug programs. That is really, really sad to me. We’ve made this mess, but no one ever wants to admit that………..


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