Microwaved Brains – Cell Phones & Wireless

This is a rather disturbing video in a couple of ways.

First off, it finds that regularly keeping your cell phone in a bra correlates with getting tumors of an unusual sort right under the antenna. (Case study). Then for men, it finds that exposure to a cell phone carried in the front pocket correlates (is causal really) of reduced sperm counts and motility along with testicular changes. For brains, they find changes of hippocampus cell numbers (i.e. not as much function). This matters as things like balance and memory depend on it. Rats exposed to essentially normal cell phone equivalent levels showed significantly less function.

On a personal note, I find the guy doing the introduction hard to follow (accent…) and then the main speaker, while a very bright and highly educated woman, has speech patterns and mannerisms that remind me a bit of Nancy Pelosi… Not nearly as bad, but… So grit your teeth if you get the same feeling and you too can reach the end of the video.

The health effects coverage really gets rolling about 1/2 hour in, and at about 45+ minutes there’s an interesting study that causes bee colony collapse with modest cell phone radiation exposure. Odd, that. Could a part of our bee problem just be the fact that cell towers are becoming ubiquitous even out in the country?

For me, I avoid my phone as much as possible already anyway ;-) However, I’m typically spending 18+ hours / day with a WiFi router on one side of me and some device it is talking with on the other side of me, be it tablet, laptop, or TV. Oh Dear.

OK, some personal changes are due.

I’m going to spend more time at the desktop using a wired connection (AND turning off the WiFi then). I’ll be looking for a wired Roku so some of the TV time at least can have the WiFi router off, and I’ll be putting back in place the Ethernet wire I’d strung to the other rooms prior to getting WiFi. I’m going to try allocating the WiFi time to specific blocks of time rather than just shutting it off a few hours a night when sleeping.

Not going to be doing this with any great speed. The cases of significant diseases so far are low numbers given the millions of cell phone users; just doing it as a “sanitation measure”. To start the process of mitigating.

I already carry my cell phone in the pocket of a backpack that sits on the rear seat of the car when in motion. It rarely is in a pants or coat pocket. I also already use a small BlueTooth headset. (Yes, they radiate too, but much lower power). For me, it isn’t the cell phone exposure that’s the big one, it’s the WiFi. I’ll need to get the spouse to watch the video as, for her, it’s the cell phone use.

How to get my kids to look at it, that’s another issue…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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23 Responses to Microwaved Brains – Cell Phones & Wireless

  1. View from the Solent says:

    have you considered powerline instead of ethernet cables? I use it, the speed loss with me is <5% compared with ethernet cable..

  2. Simon Derricutt says:

    VftS – powerlines aren’t normally well-shielded or even twisted-pair. As such, they’re going to radiate whatever frequency they’re using and you’re back to square one of trying to reduce the RF load in the environment. Powerline transmission works well enough technically, but maybe not the best option. Coax ethernet would be even better than twisted-pair, of course.

  3. R. de Haan says:

    Reducing RF load, cables, cables, cables, only cables. When I watched the video where they boiled the egg next to the cell phone I knew enough. Serving with the Air Force during the Cold War I watched birds being fried in flight crossing the radar beam of a HIPAR so I always had a lot of respect for RF load in my vicinity. I don’t use Wifi if it’s not necessary and installed my router in the basement. Besides that I have all my computers and printers cabled. As for the Smartphone, don’t keep it against your ear making a call, just put it on speaker, don’t use blue tooth and don’t carry it on your body unless you shut it down and remove the battery. In my plane I moved the VHF and Transponder antenna’s as far away from the cockpit seats as possible and shielded the back side of the seat shales with adhessive aluminum foil as I did with the entire cabin. I also shielded the radio and transponder equipment and applied RF shielded cockpit glass. Now I am looking to EMP/CME proof the whole thing. Not the instrumentation in particular but the batteries, engine electronics, pumps and generator. Looking for an affordable (but tested) kit, no junk.

  4. H.R. says:

    I had a vasectomy about 39 years ago, so I’m not too concerned about lowered sperm counts. I still only have two dangleys, not three or four, so I’m not seeing any obvious negative side effects. Besides, my phone is rarely on my person, much to the annoyance of all of my acquaintances and loved ones. I probably kill more brain cells with alcohol than my phone or laptop ever will.

    However, maybe this is no longer a joke, but a viable option.

    I was taught that to eliminate hazards, consider the Source, Path, and Receiver. If possible, eliminate the source of the hazard. In this case, it means back to cables and getting rid of Wifi.

    But if that’s not an option, then you block the path of the hazard. However, that would make Wifi pretty pointless.

    The last option is the least preferred, which is to protect the potential receiver of the hazard. That’s why I posted that image, and though it’s amusing, I wasn’t really joking.

    Would it be possible to come up with (comfortable) RF blocking fabrics? If so, you could make fashionable hats and undies and then go on about your business without being concerned about all the RF that most people are bombarded with on a daily basis. You could also make a fortune off of that cloth.

  5. H.R. says:

    @R. de Haan – You posted while I was writing. It appears you’ve done a lot to address Source and Path. As to the Receiver, you: seriously, would you be an easy sell for a protective jumpsuit?

    Just wondering… I think that a suitable type thread is doable. Would there be some sort of weave that would create an interference pattern, a Faraday cage of sorts?

  6. Power Grab says:

    I prefer to use Ethernet for my computers. In my environment, it’s much faster than WIFI.

    I wish there were a way to plug in a cell phone to the Ethernet and turn off the cell phone and WIFI functions. I have Ethernet where I work and where I live. I don’t really use the cell system except when I’m in the car. And I try not to use it much in the car because I don’t believe in texting while driving.

    Regarding ways to avoid placing the phone on your ear, I wonder if those old fashioned handsets that plug into cell phones work. Has anyone ever tried one?

    All the modern handsets (on wired phones), as well as cell phones, never will stay on my shoulder if I need to use both hands while talking on the phone. I had a Bluetooth gizmo once. They tend to not stay in/on my ear very well. I don’t like stuff like that.

    I don’t like to use those headsets they give musicians to use while performing. I find them really distracting, and I prefer to hear the ambiance of the room anyway.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    I went out of my way to avoid wifi here at home, for the communications security considerations rather than concern over low level RF. I purchased a cable modem that only does ethernet, and all my systems are hardwired on CAT 6 or CAT 8 cable now. I live in a 350 unit apartment complex so am surrounded by folks that use wifi, if I enable wifi on my laptop I can see maybe 20+ wifi connections, so not practical to do much about that short of building a shielded enclosure.

    When at home I often leave the cell phone out on the table near the charger not on my person. Day to day I carry it in a cargo pocket on the outside of my thigh. I might just put it in airplane mode except when I want to be able to receive text messages (ie not driving), but don’t worry a lot about it.

    I do 95% of my cell phone communicating with SMS text messages so burst transmission that only last a second or less, I rarely use voice phone and never browse the web on my phone.

    I work in an environment that has in the building wifi networks so there is nothing I can do about that.

    Given RF is a point source inverse square law radiation source the biggest change you can make is distance. The difference between in a shirt pocket and arms reach across the desk is huge in terms of exposure rate to tissue. Something on the order of x25 – x30x reduction in exposure levels in the example given.

  8. H.R. says:

    Larry L.: “I work in an environment that has in the building wifi networks so there is nothing I can do about that.”

    I may soon have a line of clothing and hats that might interest you.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Aluminum foil clashes with my complexion and makes crinkly noises when I walk.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @View From The Solent:

    No, I’d not. I’ll do so. But I already have the Cat-5 cables (saved from some decommission long long ago) and the PVC “pass throughs” installed in the walls… from about 20 years ago… It’s just a matter of pulling the cable behind the furniture ;-)


    Hmmm… Good point… Radiation Data must exist… mumble…

    @R. de Haan & H.R.:

    Aluminum foil is nice, but doesn’t it work better if grounded? Just wondering.

    The “tin foil hat” has the problem that from the front it forms a reflector focusing a sort of cone of increasing strength right into the center of your brain… What the back side giveth the front side taketh away… You need a metalized face screen for it to work well.

    There are lots of metalized fabrics. Worst case, sew it out of Space Blanket ;-)

    @Power Grab:

    There are cheap IP phones. You can then forward your cell to the “wired” IP phone and just shut off the cell when at home. I’ve been planning to do that but just not got a Round Tuit…

    When in Florida I got a fun bit of IP Phone kit at Walmart for something like $10. It’s a box about the size of a HotSpot that takes a regular handset in one side (another $9 at the time) and ethernet in the other. Worked great. Then I did the crazy thing of connecting it to my HotSpot and made an ersatz Cell Phone out of it ;-) As my local telco service then was crappy 2 G it wasn’t the greatest – but despite the slight gurgle in the voices it did work. On 3 G it was quite clear. Plugged into “Real Ethernet” it was great.

    My AT&T boundary router has 2 x telco jacks in the back and for something trivial like $10 / month? I can have another IP based “wired” phone at home.

    Unfortunately, last time I looked for one of the cheapo WalMart IP phone kits the local store didn’t have them. Don’t know if they are still sold or not. FWIW, I plan to do just that. Put in some kind of IP phone and forward the cell to it when at home. Likely after the move to Florida… IIRC there are kits to “roll your own” IP phone. I’m planning to investigate that as part of making my own cell phone in some months / years out…


    Trivia Point:

    Remember I shut off the 5 GHz on the router and cut back the signal strength on the 2.5 GHz to about 20%? Well now, there are 4 different WiFi signals IN MY HOUSE stronger than my own router! The house is chicken wire under stucco, so I’m thinking windows. Maybe time to put “whole window screens” in place… or just move…


    Explore anodized aluminum foil in colors for Larry… don’t know how to de-krinkle it ;-)

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm… Lots of folks put their Smart Phone in a protective carrier… Wonder if you could make one from metal with a rim that reflected edge radiation away from your head… It would not need to extent too much beyond the edge I’d think…

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    I am thinking carbon fiber clothing is the answer – or for those still in prime reproductive age a Faraday athletic supporter or RFID proof boxer shorts..

    Or if you are cheap, a hot glue gun and lots of charcoal briquettes (just stay away from the fire place)

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    Wonder if you could make one from metal with a rim that reflected edge radiation away from your head… It would not need to extent too much beyond the edge I’d think…

    Unfortunately it would probably just re-radiate the cell frequency unless carefully dimensioned to resonate at an antagonistic frequency.

    I suspect absorption would be more problem free, like a sheet of carbon fiber in the carrier, but unfortunately the location of microphones and speakers on smart phones cause people to hold them with the glass face plate next to their head, so you would have to come up with an RF absorptive glass coating that did not interfere with the touch screen function. The other option would be to integrate speaker/mic functions into the protector so that the phone is held touch screen out when talking.

    Simple solution would be a physical hard wire (or fiber optic) earbud speaker/mic but no one today likes wired ear buds so probably not a good seller.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Sometimes Sloth is your friend…

    Upon inspection I found that (what, 8 years ago?) when I deprecated the Ethernet wiring I did NOT pull the long wire from the office to the bedroom (where I’d had a hub off to the L.R.). In fact, it was laying there just curled up behind the furniture…

    Plug one end into router, other end into Chromebox Media Center in the bedroom – Voila! I’m wired… So this is being typed on the Chromebox where I was just watching internet based TV…

    So one “buy a wired Roku” away from full WIRED connectivity in one of the rooms.

    Need to dig out the hub and check for the other wire behind furniture and I could just as fast have the LR TV on a wire. (The LG TV has a wire spigot … I’d need to also replace that wireless Roku to get it out there too, but frankly, for about 3/4 of what we watch the LG “smarts” is enough… and a few hours of WiFi at the limit of range is unlikely to be that important)

    Luck, sometimes it’s a good thing. Sloth too ;-)

  15. Kneel says:

    In my younger days, I had to tune analogue microwave transmitters – take 25W@150MHz, feed into a 2x, then another 2x and finally a tripler to get to 1.2W@1800MHz. In order to tune it, you sometimes needed to take the covers off the multipliers. When so done, teeth fillings, screws and pins from broken bones etc “tingled”, and eyes dried out.
    Oh, and was in the electricity supply industry too, and many times walked around a high voltage switchyard, and standing next to a 330kv to 132kv transformer carrying 200+MW, you can draw a continuous arc about 2mm long to ground (if you are “floating”, of course).
    But needless to say, given the history, I am not too concerned about stray RF or other EM fields – it hasn’t affected me (tic, tic, “Shut up – let me talk” :-) )

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    One of our group of 4 enlisted in the Navy in the Viet Nam era and ended up working on large radar sets, often with the covers off. He died of cancer a few years later, concentrated in the parts of his body closest to the radar sets with the covers off….

    Rick Elliot, may he rest in peace.

    THAT was the moment when I started watching microwave exposure and risks…

    He had zero familial or environmental risks compared to the rest of us prior to enlistment. He mentioned working on radars with the covers off as something he was wondering about but was ordered to do…

    So “Good luck with that ‘historical’ exposure”…

  17. Power Grab says:

    @ EM re IP phones: Is that the same thing as VOIP phones? I’ve heard of them. I think that’s what we use at work now. Actually, I now have the same kind of phone at home as at work. Hmmm….

    But usually once Walmart stops carrying something, then I can usually find it on eBay. ;-)

    I will have to check out “IP phones” now.

    @ Kneel: dry eyes…no kidding! I went through a short span of time when I would wake up in the morning with my eyes so dry that I had to use my hands to keep them open long enough to get them watering again. After I read someone say on a forum that RF is drying, then I figured out I had too many “hot” items near my head at night and started turning most of them off…and leaving them off. It fixed the dry eye problem by the next morning. :-)

    Dang! I thought I was being clever! Now you say that dry eyes are par for the course when working with lots of RF. Oh well.

  18. Eric Fithian says:

    Just a thought:
    Perhaps a dumb Flip Phone would be a lesser source of radiation than a Smart Phone, as it does not have all the media and features which repeatedly call for updates…?
    That would suggest that one could reduce one’s Exposure by downgrading to a Dumb Phone.
    NB: I have a dumb flip phone, and have always resisted my brother’s demands that I Get With The Program– “Tell me, please, how my existence would be improved by having the Internet in my pocket all day long!”
    Now, it seems, I have an even better reason to stay in the Dark(er) ages….

  19. Ian W says:

    I do not think humanity has changed much – working in industries where there are unknown unknowns – at what was then the forefront of technology. Phosphy jaw (Phosphorus necrosis) from working with yellow phosphorus in the matchstick ‘industry’ or becoming ‘mad as a hatter’ due to mercury poisoning from the compounds used in making and finishing top hats, or mesothelioma from asbestos used in all sorts of building and fire blankets now hazmat suits needed to remove it from old buildings. The list is endless.
    It would not surprise me to find that living in a continual bath of RF of all frequencies will affect those with particular genetic predispositions. However, the problem is identifying what the particular cause is – blanket banning RF and living in a Faraday cage may work but it might be that a particular frequency at a particular wave form affects DNA in a way that others don’t. Having watched mitochondria in plant cells respond to one set of sounds but not another set for example so plants grew better and towards violin but worse and away from rock music, it is not a simple WiFi is bad, perhaps it is a particular encoding on 2.4GHz.
    Definitely an area for research rather than a blanket ban on all things electrical ;-)

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    IP Phone or VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol all the same thing…

    You can even turn your Raspberry Pi into a VOIP phone:



    Yes, the “smart phone” has a whole lot of “phone home” notifiers and updaters and stuff, so it does do more “chatting” (and unless you turn them all off burns more of your “data plan” and costs more unless you have “unlimited data”).

    That said, most of the power will be in the tower check-ins and phone calls, so it isn’t a big win.

    @Ian W:

    When you know that eating fish from a given river makes people sick, you stop eating fish from that river while you find out if it is bacterial, pesticides, or just mercury from that abandoned mine up stream… (There’s a river in San Jose posted for no-fishing due to an old cinnabar mine up stream, so this isn’t a hypothetical.)

    So yeah, hopefully we’ll find out there’s an easy fix. And I’m not going to zero exposure (watching TV right now via WiFi and typing this on a WiFi laptop…) if for no other reason than that I live in a valley that’s as stuffed with radiative sources as you can get. (The entire town of Santa Clara has public WiFi edge to edge… and there are stronger WiFi sources in my living room from my neighbors -10 at present, sometimes more show up – than from my router… not to mention those giant radars at the AirportS around me and flying over head… and…)

    But I found I can sleep better when it is off at night, and both the spouse and I do better with the 5 GHz turned off and the 2.5 GHz turned down to minimal that works… so why not?

    What I found most disturbing was that the mitochondria had DNA damage. You can’t fix that. All you can do is have that cell die and replaced with another one, but all the nearby cells and the stem cells in the area will also be taking damage. It becomes non-recoverable. If that is in the gametes and gonades, all your decedents forever (if they survive) get the same damage. That’s a very different thing from an individual dying from lung cancer after 40 years of smoking.

    Per asbestos:

    A common rock in the hills around me is Serpentine. It sheds asbestos like fibers into the water. It is funny to watch someone sitting on top of a Serpentine boulder ranting about asbestos in building materials. Yes, I’ve seen it ;-0

  21. Simon Derricutt says:

    For interest on VOIP, I bought a Cisco PAP2T quite a few years ago (5-6?). Plug in a normal phone (and of course into the router) to get a VOIP line, and it has worked very well. For a while i had to change the VOIP ports every few months, since it seems Orange (my ISP) didn’t like it existing outside their VOIP (cost-added) service. The PAP2T has two telephone ports, so I set one to the standard address and the other to a couple higher, and just switched them over when it stopped working. That minor annoyance stopped a few years ago when the router got upgraded. The limitation on using a plug-in phone is that you’re basically limited to numeric VOIP addresses, though there seems to be a provision for translating a few to alphanumeric if you’re bothered. As a little box that just sits and does the job for not a lot of money, I’d recommend it if you want VOIP without being limited to buying a VOIP-only phone, and doàn’t want to need to have a computer running. Yep, I know the PAP2T is in fact a computer, but it’s quiet and small. The company I bought a UK number from (Connexin) no longer seem to offer that service (one-off fee for the number then only pay a little for outgoing calls) but still honour their contract.

    I had a Skype phone for a while, too, while they were still Skype and not M$. I think Skype would have kept their promise to keep the encoding the same so that would have continued to work, but that one got killed by lightning (hit the ethernet so caused a fair amount of damage), and the next Skype phone only worked when connected to a Windoze machine. Not that useful. As such, though I still have a Skype address I only use it on the Android tablet and only when I’m warned by email beforehand as to when to load it.

    Though I disabled the 5.8GHz on the new router, I haven’t noticed any changes in headaches (very rare anyway) or sleeping. Maybe my head’s too big (I need to get the largest beret available) to resonate at the frequencies used, or the wrong shape, or something…. RF is strange to work with, and any conductor or dielectric can channel it in unexpected directions.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    Another one. This one a TED talk mostly about “Wireless Smart Meters”. It looks like the guy got sensitized by very high exposure from a bank of them under his bedroom but now has more general sensitivity (at least if I’m understanding him right).

  23. R. de Haan says:


    All I have found about affordable EMP/CME protection:
    It’s designed to protect your home, your solar panels (which I don’t have and probably never have unless we talk about a small panel to keep the batteries of a sailplane charged when it is stored in the trailer during the flying season. I also have a small portable unit to charge a hand held VHF radio battery and my phone battery. The fixed panel on the trailer works perfectly for over 16 years now. The portable unit I recently bought on the cheap (from china of course) doesn’t look as solid as the panel I have installed on top of my trailer but it performed well so far.

    Developer/Supplier of EMP/CME protection:

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