The secret inside your cellphone (CBC Marketplace)

The secret inside your cellphone (CBC Marketplace)

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this is a special edition of marketplace most of us carry our phones next to our body and why wouldn't we science tests and the hidden message in your cell phone I can't find it such information about health cannot become a fine print we test the top-selling brand so the results are in we got the results you surprised I don't think I'll carry it the same way I have been nothing little bit worried this is your market place there's a secret inside our phones grew some would even
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call it a warning where would I be able to find it's a message that cell phone makers are required to share but most have never seen it and can't even find it when they try control center general I can't find it gonna be on it that's how it looks the message in my phone says to reduce exposure to RF energy use a hands-free option such as speakerphone to carry the phone at least 5 millimeters away from your body to
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ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels [Music] so don't leave it in your pocket I never hold my cellphone 1.5 meters to my mind ever where's that mean exactly what that message means is what I'm trying to figure out why are we being told to keep our phones away from our body it is my
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first story on cellphones almost 20 years ago is your study something that the cell phone industry was watching yes there wasn't a lot of science back then a thimble full of research is what we have now but suspicions were starting to grow that cell phone use had some health risks when did you start to think this has something to do with a cellular phone I think when I saw the first MRI and saw the location of the tumor also growing was the suspicion that we're not being told the whole story industry can be really totally malignant
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there are no adverse health effects in fields of this nature the industry clearly is hands off shouldn't we know the answer by now all these years later I'm still asking the same questions are a cell phone safe and are we being told enough to make that decision for ourselves there's a city in California that doesn't think we are Berkeley is a great example of the battle between the people who think that the public needs to know more about cell phones and the cell phone industry that
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thinks that people have been told enough city council actually passed something called an ordinance ordering all of the phone stores in the city to put up a sign hi there thank good ru so when you walk in you see the message that's inside your phone actually up on the counter I do have it here and then they think that people will have more information hi there they might they might change their behavior or they might choose not to change their behavior
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[Music] the city is in a new battle over what it can say about cellphones and your cancer risk Berkeley's got the message out but those signs have stirred up a lot of controversy for now this law is in effect the cell phone industry wants them to come down face off today between two very high-profile attorneys over the issue of cell phone radiation warnings on the cell phone industry side the same
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lawyer who fought for Big Tobacco there are no link between cell phones and any known health problems they're arguing that the signs are alarmist the total effect your honor is watch out but Berkeley is standing their ground all we've done is to make sure that consumers are aware of this basis the fight is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court we will let you know when he issues his ruling did you have any idea that this would lead to this I did you know cities have been trying to
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educate consumers about the effect of hour of radiation and safe use guidelines for years Mayor Jesse arigon is on the frontlines in this battle over the right to know more they say that that message is baseless that you have no scientific proof that there's any safety concern all we are asking that come that stores do is provide the same information that the federal government mandates and that's already supposed to be disclosed there's like less than 20 mobile stores here why is it such a big
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case for the the wireless industry I think the concern on the part of the telecommunications industry is if we can do it in Berkeley then other cities will do it as well you're gonna stick with it we're gonna stick with it at the heart of the message the cell phone industry doesn't want displayed information on how to make sure you're not exposed to radiation levels above the government safety limit whether it suggests carrying the phone at 5 10 or 15 millimeters away from the body depends on how it was tested
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I would say these are the best sellers out of all three brands so before leaving Berkeley I pick up a few phones to find out what that testing is about here you are thank you very much have you ever seen the testing reform all these stories about cell phones I've never actually seen the testing the lab we're going to is one of many that's hired to test and certify the phones before they're allowed out on the market
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so they're gonna show us how that testing works but also without them to do an extra test for us because we want to see what happens what results they get when they test the phone the way people actually use them right up against the body so the chief engineer this lab his name is Jay Moulton and he's gonna do the test for us today so I've got three phones here for testing okay from the top three manufacturers and the big sellers are the Samsung
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Galaxy the LG five okay and the iPhone 7 okay so this is it this is it [Music] Molden was part of an international committee that designed this testing standard what are you gonna start with uh well we'll start with the head measurement what is this the wand actually looking for it's looking for the highest amount of electric field coming into the tissue this is supposed to represent what happens inside the brain yes just like for the
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manufacturers our phones will be tested at the highest power level possible so we'll be transmitting as if you were as far away from a base station as you can get and still make a call my phone's trying to try extra hard this is the worst case it could ever get to be for a cell phone can we put it into the holder flip it up close to the head and then I just at this point I'm going to adjust to set it so that the speaker is right at the edge of the ear that plastic year is six millimeters thick and positions the phone at the distance
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it's assumed we hold it and if you're thinking that head looks big it's because it is the head was was designed based on a 1950s army study of all the army men and they came up with an average sized head this idea was devised before little kids started using phones yes this one-size-fits-all model it's just one of the reasons critics say it's time for the testing to change I'm in Washington DC Missy Deborah Davis she's a toxicologist senior
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epidemiologist when I first met her about ten years ago she told me that the testing method doesn't at all take into effect the size of a child's brain you see here this side showing you the brain of an adult so this is where the cell phone looks it and this is the radiation that's absorbed yes this is the one we're most concerned about this is the head of a five-year-old she was a big part of the fight to get led out of drinking water and she fought against tobacco and now for actually for many
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years now she's been fighting to tell people that they should be concerned about cellphones when I first interviewed you many years ago you were persuaded there was a problem you're still persuaded Oh more than ever unfortunately why well the science has progressed and without any question we have more experimental data on animals unfortunately have more data on people how much more science is there now and say it's doubled since I first really became aware and wrote about this in
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2007 among the recent research a twenty five million dollar study on rats by the US government the largest they've ever done the findings were released just last year it was set up to answer the question whether or not there was any effect on health from low levels of radiation like those from cell phones the scientists running the study thought it would find nothing they were astonished when they showed this increase in highly malignant aggressive tumors of the brain and the heart astonished because some rats were
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exposed to radiation levels below the safety limit that cell phones have to meet the findings were deemed so important those heading it wasted no time letting the regulator's know Canada was looked into but when we asked Health Canada about it they say while some argue this study provides conclusive evidence there are numerous scientific questions to be addressed Health Canada isn't the only one with questions for many it comes down to this if cell phones are a problem where are
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all the brain tumors in humans this is one of the worst tumors we've ever seen in a guy who said he lived on his foot in Edmonton neuro-oncologist dr. Jay Esau recently helped launch a brain tumor registry soon as the tumors growing it's putting pressure on the skull to track what we're seeing in Canada so you're looking you're looking for answers 100% what what are your suspicions I believe that we're gonna see more and more studies that show a
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correlation between cell phone use and and the incidence of brain tumors there's no question that we are seeing more young people coming into clinic with brain tumors and the question is why but your message is not reflected by like Health Canada yeah what do you think of that ah you know I understand why because the the data that are out there are so controversial and in health Canada's position they have to look at the data and they have to come to a
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conclusion and that truthfully the data are inconclusive why is there not more data do you know why I'll tell you even in our own clinic we've tried to keep track of this and when we ask a patient about their cell phone use we're asking them to remember and that's just not reliable and that's why it's important to get the message out now we need to at least get young people and adults to start thinking about their use and doing things that potentially can help protect them have you ever have you ever done
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that test for anyone else no I haven't because it's not a requirement so that the manufacturers don't do it very new tech old safety rules this is your market place science tests and your phone on your marketplace questions around cellphone safety have now spanned decades as the science mounts on both sides soda criticisms over how much we're being told such information about health cannot
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become a fine print I do think that information should be made more available why the concern it's constantly emitting microwave radiation and that radiation if it's right next to your body gets into you whether it's your breasts or your pants pocket reality is every millimeter closer to the head or body you keep a phone you can get more radiation so why does the government allow phones to be
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tested at a distance okay so this is where we do the body measurements is on the flat phantom and what will happen when we test them the way you actually wear those so first you're gonna do it with the distance yeah chief engineer J Moulton is helping us find out first measurement we'll lose at with a five millimeter gap which this is a five millimeter distance because that's how they test it this is this this is how Apple did the original test Apple tests
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closer than many at five millimeters LG does their testing at ten Samsung tests this phone at fifteen that's a full centimeter and a half away from the body the maximum allowed that seems like who wears their phones T millimeters away it's a big gap a gap that was designed in the day of holsters when was the last time you saw something with a phone in there who wasn't under age 70 why don't they test the way that people use it like next to the body I think if phones were tested the way people use them none of them would pass
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the results from the first test the way manufacturers do it are in all three phones come within the safety limit okay so that's no surprise to you that's no surprise time to start our test the way most of us carry them we'll roll this thing all the way up until it - and has a zero yeah have you ever you ever done that test for anyone else you know I haven't because it's not a requirement so that the manufacturers don't do it very often not required even though most people we
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talked to say this yes I definitely would not carry a 5 millimeters for my body I would have it very close to me here is my bean pocket over here or is in my back pocket [Music] but what harm could that do we have known now for more than 10 years and that men who keep phones in their pocket have lowered sperm count they have poorer sperm quality young women sometimes wear their phones in
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their bra correct this is an MRI that was shared with us by our colleague dr. John west of a 21 year old these are tumors at her breast the hot spot right here right under where the phone was kept but how do you know that could be caused by a cell phone we don't know but what we know is this it's extraordinarily unusual for a young woman to have one breast cancer to have two three or four and they all develop
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as separate tumors under the antenna the phone that's beyond coincidence it a link between breast cancer and phones hasn't been proven but for Davis case reports like this are worrisome we think this is enough of a concern that we're telling people please be aware of this this is why she aren't use phones should be tested the way we wear them so what happens when they are so at ethyl done tests are all finished and the number exceeded the limit it
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went up significantly with each one of the phones that's right the phone's exceeded the safety limit when they were moved right against the body the radiation absorbed increased three to four times does that concern you no primarily because this is a worst-case test to where everything is at max power maximum worst condition we shared our results with all three manufacturers LG told us they take the
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responsibility of producing safe products seriously and test according to the guidelines samsung says their phones meet or exceed all regulatory standards as for Apple they have no comment and refer us back to that message in our phones Health Canada on track or behind the times they don't want to investigate this I think they're not there looking for any excuse they can find to continue it with the status quo the former head of Microsoft Canada
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speaks out this is your market place this is your market place seven out of ten people say they carry their phones in their pocket or against their bodies but when we tested three popular brands the way you wear them all went over Candida's limits on radiation exposure uh kinda scary I don't think I'll carry the same way I happen know little bit worried he may be worried but Health Canada says it's not because their safety limits include a wide
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safety margin to ensure radiation exposure stays far below the threshold of harm they're saying that the testing is so safe that there's no way that we could be in everything the system is out of date it's testing something that's not relevant to how we use phones or to the ways that we know phones can affect our health just keep it 15 millimeters away from your body Canadian groups have been a urging Health Canada to reassess those safety limits too since science now
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shows possible harm below the level that phones are tested for we're stuck in this quagmire of believing the science as decades old Frank legs the former president of Microsoft Canada now he heads a group advocating for safer use of Technology there are dozens and dozens of studies that we presented to Health Canada that show harm at levels below Canada's guidelines he thought they were making headway when a couple of years ago the government agreed to review the issue over 200 studies were
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submitted by Clegg's group research on humans and animals suggesting potential harm everything from behavior changes to DNA damage and sperm abnormalities all at radiation levels below what phones are tested for plegh was told many don't meet Health Canada's bar he wants to know why I think they're not they're looking for any excuse they can find to continue it with the status quo we asked repeatedly to speak with Health Minister Jane Philpott but she declined our request
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for an interview so we took our questions to cancer epidemiologist Paul tumors the evidence that comes out what I believe is still is still mixed dimers was asked to review the science on cell phones for Health Canada so what is your bottom line then are the way that we use cell phones now are we safe well I believe we are the fact is we don't have at least when I looked at the evidence last we don't have the evidence to say that there are adverse health effects
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there are other scientists that I respect who are more convinced what do you do with your phone I keep it in my in my pants pocket so it's handy it hasn't concerned me to that to that level as for Health Canada's bottom line they say the totality of the science does not support a link to harm they add even if a small child were exposed to cellphones 24 hours a day 365 days a year there would be no adverse health effects
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so how do you explain that Health Canada's track record is atrocious how long did it take the figure of tobacco so the fact that Health Canada is behind is it news the fact that they're not doing anything about it to me is unforgivable Clegg wants change but for now says information should be out in the open so people can decide for themselves I think there's an opportunity for Canada to be among the leaders in the world like Berkeley California to to get the manufacturers warnings out to say look be careful how you use the technology there's a safe way to use it and there's a potentially
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harmful way when I first started covering this the menu the manufacturers were saying there's no sign that's showing any concern then it became there's no conclusive evidence now it seems the totality of science doesn't the lingo is changing yeah the lingo is changing me but they can't make it all go away we should not insist on proof that we have made people before taking steps to protect others while Health Canada says you shouldn't be concerned they do provide tips in
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case you are [Music] so do you feel like you're any closer to the answer well it's been 20 years of asking two questions one our cellphone safe I still don't know the answer to that and two are people being given enough information to decide for themselves and on that I think I've discovered I think we've proven the people most people have no idea that messages in their phone a message the government requires so I think it's kind of obvious that they could be more upfront with that information so I'm
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gonna keep pushing for more information and I'll report back in 20 years join us for our season finale on April 7th Menasha vs. team Chelsea let's do this Charles E and I are going head-to-head investigating the wedding industrial complex a minute you say wedding the money bells go off stealing everything is marketed to brides as like you need
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this or your wedding will suck but are you paying extra just because of one word you'd be looking at four hundred and fifty two dollars you're looking at a hundred dollars Wow it's a wedding war you won't want to miss [Music] you

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