couple in bed with mobile phone screens illuminating faces

Health Risks of Cell Phones – Interview: Dr. Carrie Madej. The Digital Dive Podcast – Episode 30

I interviewed Dr. Carrie Madej, Medical Director of the Phoenix Medical Group of Georgia, about the health risks associated with cell phones. The Digital Dive Podcast first explored Smartphone Addiction in Ep. 28 (we discussed social etiquette for smartphones, widespread impact of mobile technology on society, and some health concerns).

 

coffee cup and woman holding cell phoneI invited Dr. Madej on the podcast to get her expert opinion on cell phone safety research, manufacturer and FCC testing, and what the medical community thinks about whether cell phones cause cancer. Hear what you can do to limit the potentially negative physical impacts of our wireless devices. 

08:55 – Carrie Madej, D.O. is an internal medicine physician who operates a private practice treating patients for a variety of medical issues. Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power. The two most toxic (or high EMF emitting) objects we use on a daily basis: microwave ovens and heating blankets / heating pads.

09:50 – Studies on qualitative quality of life measures, infertility, depression, etc. Lack of data without longer term study lengths.

11:15 – IARC Interphone study from 1999-2004. 13 countries, 14,000 subjects. Omitted data: subjects with brain tumors, subjects who died, those who were too sick to be interviewed, children and young adults, and users of feature phones. A correlation between cell phone use and brain tumors was found nonetheless.

13:00 – Health effects of smartphones and wi-fi devices on children: developing brain tissue is more susceptible and sensitive to the impact of EMFs.

14:00 – European vs. US research on cell phone radiation.

15:10 – What to do to decrease effects of iPhone radiation or EMFs: keep it farther away from the body, do not use wi-fi and Bluetooth at the same time when not necessary (decrease potentiation signals next to other devices). Data is inconclusive about the true safety of our phones.

16:35 – A fertility study showed evidence that after 15 minutes of having a laptop on a male’s lap, the sperm count dropped 15%.*

19:00 – A few tips for decreasing the SAR of your phone: turn off when not in use; turn off when signal is weak (searching for signal increases EMFs).

19:30 – The Digital Dive focuses on technology’s impact on society, marketing, and innovation, and we thank Dr. Madej for offering her medical insight in this interview.

Tips on Tap

negative and positive photo from negative me app by kevin griggs1. Triggertrap – “Creative ways of triggering your camera.” Photographer Kevin Griggs of Capitol Photography shares the robust, free Triggertrap mobile app. It enables photographers to trigger their phone’s camera or an external camera by various actions such as a sound (like snapping your fingers or a bang), a timer, GPS, vibration, face recognition, and more.
In Wi-Fi Slave Mode, you use another Triggertrap mobile device as a trigger, connect to the master device and wait for the other device to trigger this camera. You can purchase an optional dongle  (a wire to connect the phone to the auxiliary camera) for $30 which allows you to use the app to fire a DSLR from a mobile device. Free app available for iPhone and Android. You can do a 5-10 minute exposure by setting it to manual. The app lets you get away with much more than a traditional cable release at the fraction of the cost.

2. NegativeMe app – (currently) free for iPhone and iPad. Kevin shares this gem of an app that allows you to take a photo of a hard copy negative and the app turns it into a positive. Easy, fast conversion of negative images into positives.

3. iPhone Safari tip: How to use the “Find on page” feature in Safari for iPhone. It’s basically CTRL F for mobile. And it’s incredibly simple but not that obvious. Just type the phrase or word you want to see highlighted on the page into the search bar. Scroll down to the bottom of the results and then tap the phrase.

Lastly, please excuse any audio quality issues with this episode. Our expert editor Melanie Touchstone was out of town this week.

*Citations:
1. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and Sterility. January 2012. 2.

2. BREAKING: Cell Phones Could Hurt Your Sperm. Men’s Health. August 2011.

Updated 1/24/2017

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