On Jan. 21, 1993, the television talk-show Larry King featured a Florida man named David Reynard, who had filed a tort claim against the cell phone manufacturer NEC and the carrier GTE Mobilnet, claiming that radiation from their cell phones caused or accelerated the growth of a brain tumor in his wife Susan Elen Reynard.
“The tumor was exactly in the pattern of the antenna,” Reynard told King.
Susan was diagnosed with a malignant brain cancer called astrocytoma at age 31 in 1989 and died from it in 1992. David believed that high dose of radiation from Susan's cell phone caused her cancer. The Florida Circuit Court that heard Reynard v. NEC rejected the claim in 1995 because too little was known about such cases and “the uncertainty of the evidence … the speculative scientific hypotheses and (limited) epidemiological studies” made it impossible to differentiate cause from coincidence. What was needed, the court said, was much deeper and more comprehensive knowledge about cell phone radiation, brain cancer and of the possible link between the two. Two decades have passed since Reynard’s case. Global cell phone subscription soared from 12.4 million in 1990 to more than 6 billion in 2012. Thousands of studies on the biological and health effects of cell phone radiation have been conducted in the past two decades, including cellular and molecular studies, animal studies and human studies. Some studies show effects while others do not. According to the BioInitiative 2012, about 1800 new scientific studies were published between 2007-2012 reporting biological and health effects at exposure levels hundreds or thousands of times lower than current safety standards. The reported health effects include cancer, impaired brain and nervous functions, sperm damages, behavioral problems in children, to list a few. The most studied disease in human subjects is brain tumors. Several large epidemiological studies, including case-control and cohort studies, were carried out on hundreds of thousands of human subjects to determine if a link exists between cell phone use and brain tumors. The results were mixed, which is not surprising due to the complexity and generic limitations of epidemiological studies, the long-latency nature of the disease (10-30 years and longer), and the relatively short elapsed time since the inception of wide-spread cell phone use (15-20 years). Study results also tend to correlate to the funding sources – industry sponsored research is more likely to show no-link than independently funded studies. The current body of scientific evidence led the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in May 2011. The current research findings have also impacted legislative initiatives and even court decisions around the world. For example, national radiation advisory authorities, including those of Austria, France, Germany, India, Israel, and Sweden, have recommended measures to minimize cell phone radiation exposure to their citizens. In April 2012, the Israeli parliament passed a bill that requires all cell phones sold in Israel to bear a health hazard warning label that reads: “Warning—the Health Ministry cautions that heavy use and carrying the device next to the body may increase the risk of cancer, especially among children.” In September, 2012, Indian government’s new mobile radiation guideline lowered the RF exposure limit to 1/10th of the existing level and made it mandatory for wireless device manufacturers to display the SAR (specific absorption rate) values on their handsets. In October 2012, Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that a 60-year old business executive’s brain tumor was caused by his heavy and long-term use of a mobile phone (5-6 hours a day for 12 years). In March 2013, Partner Communications reached a settlement with a customer who sued Partner in May 2012, claiming that intensive use of their phone device resulted in an aggressive lymphoma (a cancer) near his left ear. Partner agreed to pay NIS 400,000 in an out-of-court compromise settlement.  Many experts remain critical of the Italian court's decision due to its basis on partial epidemiological evidence. And others dismiss the Partner Communications settlement as simply a decision to avoid the high cost of a lengthy trial. But underlying, and potentially enabling, these decisions are the continuous advancement of scientific evidence since Reynard’s case two decades ago. The scientific linking of cell phone radiation to certain health risks has moved from impossible to possible, a trend that deserves much attention and caution. A 2011 study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by brain imaging expert Dr. Volkow demonstrated that just 50-minute of cell phone use altered human brain glucose metabolism in the region of brain closest to the phone antenna. Although the exact health consequence of cell phone exposure is not known yet from her study, it clearly shows evidence of interaction between human brain and cell phone radiation. The progress of research is challenging the concept that cell phones are safe. More and more scientists, health professionals, lawmakers, and government officials worldwide have become concerned about the possible health risks from population-wide exposure to wireless radiation. Consumers have not been using mobile technology long enough to fully understand its health impacts. And although the body of scientific findings is growing rapidly, what we are seeing now is still very early evidence. As time goes by and more research data becomes available, it is hopeful that one day, maybe decades from today, we will have a clear answer to this question. Before that, consumers should not ignore the conflicting body of research while waiting for definitive answers. At alara formally known as Pong, we support the worldwide calls for precaution. alara’s internationally patented smartphone and iPad cases are the only cases that are scientifically proven and independently tested to protect you and your loved ones from potentially harmful wireless radiation.