The Health Sciences Institute is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

Your brain is not the only part of your head that's vulnerable to cell phone use

Let’s talk

If you’ve used a cell phone every day for a few years– especially if you make frequent calls and have a tendency to talk for awhile–it’s time to put the phone down…and let’s talk.

Earlier this year, we got some disturbing news from a long-term study known as Interphone. Study subjects who used cell phones the most had a 40 percent higher risk of glioma, the same type of brain tumor that took Senator Kennedy’s life.

In addition, several Interphone researchers told Microwave News that glioma risk among long-term users was higher toward the end of the study.

And Elisabeth Cardis–leader of the Interphone project — said, “Overall, my opinion is that the results show a real effect.”

In response to the Interphone results, the FDA issued a press release with this title: “No Evidence Linking Cell Phone Use to Risk of Brain Tumors.”

Oh, FDA! We can always count on you to divert our attention away from reality!

In the body of the press release, here’s how the agency summarized the results: “The study reported little or no risk of brain tumors for most long-term users of cell phones.”

So, which is it? Little risk, or no risk? And “for most long-term users”? That sounds to me like people ARE at risk if they constantly have their cell phone held tight to their ear. And I know LOTS of people like that. I’ll bet you do too.

In fact, that would describe HSI Panelist Ann Louise Gittleman. Or rather, it used to describe her.

Ann Louise is a renowned nutrition specialist and a best selling author of many books on health and healing. But as she admits, she wasblindsided by the health risk of cell phones. And that risk turned into a very real and frightening health challenge.

Play it safe

What the Interphone study reveals–and the FDA ignores–is that the brain is not the only area of the head that’s vulnerable to cell phone radiation.

In 2005, Ann Louise was diagnosed with a parotid gland tumor (PGT)–also known as a salivary gland tumor. As she soon learned (and as Interphone documented this year) heavy cell use sharply increases PGT risk. And the risk is even greater if you live in a rural area because cell towers are spaced farther apart, so cell phones emit higher radiation levels.

Fortunately, Ann Louise’s tumor turned out to be benign. It was removed, and now, as she told me recently, “No problems. Not even a scar.”

Others are not so lucky. For instance, film critic Roger Ebert had a malignant PGT that spread to his jaw and became a very complicated and dangerous health issue.

The Interphone study estimates that about 260 hours of cell phone use over five years increases your risk of PGT by 50 percent. I know I certainly land in that category, along with dozens of my friends. So what can we do to protect ourselves?

Ann Louise gave me several guidelines for making cell use safe:

  • Use a speakerphone
  • Use a plastic air-tube earpiece
  • Limit length of calls
  • When possible, text instead of call
  • Don’t make calls from cars, elevators or trains–the radiation becomes concentrated in those spaces

Ann Louise told me that her PGT experience opened up an awareness of our vast exposure to electropollution from cell phones, computers, and all the other electrical and wireless devices we use every day. Many of these common devices create powerful electromagnetic fields.

Recently, Ann Louise published a new book titled “Zapped,” an invaluable guide for steering your way around harmful and sometimes very dangerous electromagnetic sources.

“Zapped” (available on also offers hundreds of invaluable tips that will help you significantly reduce electropollution exposure. You can find more information about electropollution on the “Zapped” website:

“Cell Phone Radiation: We Know the Dangers, What are the Solutions? Ann Louise Gittleman Ph.D. has a Master Plan for Safety” PRWEB, 11/23/10,
“No Evidence Linking Cell Phone Use to Risk of Brain Tumors” FDA Consumer Update, 5/17/10,

Get urgent health alerts, warnings and insights delivered straight to your inbox