Jackson, Wyoming Schools/Town Partner with Environmental Health Trust to Launch National Model Campaign for Community-wide Cell Phone Safety Awareness

Determined to protect children from the dangers of cell phone irradiation, EHT founder Dr. Devra Davis launched the Campaign for Safer Cell Phones, and the Get Wired Action Program in Jackson Hole, to serve as a model for other schools.

On the heels of a major study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on how just 50 minutes of cell phone use alters brain activity, Jackson Hole, Wyoming Mayor Mark Barron led the Jackson Town Council to unanimously approve a cell phone safety awareness campaign, spearheaded by the Environmental Health Trust (EHT), to promote safe cell phone use in schools throughout the Jackson Hole community.

Determined to protect children from the dangers of cell phone irradiation, EHT founder Dr. Devra Davis launched the Campaign for Safer Cell Phones, and the Get Wired Action Program in Jackson Hole, to serve as a model for communities across the nation and around the globe. Dr. Davis is the author of the book Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family (Dutton, 2010).
The EHT campaign provides access to a toolbox of free downloadable materials such as "safety cards" that list safer cell phone practices, appealing to teachers, health care professionals, parents, and students alike. The Get Wired Action Program provides a template for communities across the nation and around the world, from Montana to France and Israel, where the dangers of cell phone irradiation are of growing concern.

"Young people today are growing up in a sea of microwave radiation from cellphones and need to know the simple ways they can lower exposures," Dr. Davis said.

To help launch the Get Wired Schools Initiative, Dr. Davis is hosting two public educational forums in Jackson, on March 21 and 22, geared toward health care providers, teachers, parents and students. The forums serve to both inform the public about the dangers of routine cell phone use, and to promote participation, among children within the K-12 community, in a poster and video contest highlighting how to use a cell phone safely, and why safe cell phone use is important. Winners from each grade in each school will receive a YUBZ retro wired headset to better protect themselves from the potential dangers of cell phone irradiation.

Jackson Hole is the first community to launch EHT's Get Wired Action program. In a letter to Superintendent of Schools Pam Shea, Jackson Hole Mayor Mark Barron wrote, "The Town Council of the Town of Jackson wishes to support the Teton County School District in their efforts to make schoolchildren aware of potential hazards associated with cell phone use.

"Though the science is incomplete on this issue," Mayor Barron's letter continues, "given the extraordinary acceleration of cell phone use by our schoolchildren and the seeming social acceptance of placing this powerful tool next to our head, it is only prudent to address the issue at this time."

While Barron believes the issue merits further study, his letter concludes, "As the saying goes, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'"

Underscoring Dr. Davis's and Mayor Barron's call for prudent cell phone safety education, national media attention focused recently on a new Journal of the American Medical Association study showing that cell phone radiation excites the brain. Led by psychiatrist Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, a research team found that just 50 minutes of cell phone radiation significantly affected brain function and metabolism of glucose-the brain's main fuel-in those parts of the brain that received the most cell phone radiation.

"Combined with other investigations, the current study demonstrates that cell phone radiation changes what happens inside the brain," Dr. Davis said. "Tumors are just the tip of the iceberg, but their development is preceded by years of other biological perturbations that have profound medical relevance-and this study confirms that significant biological changes occur after relatively brief exposures such as those that take place daily with the world's five billion cell phones."

Dr. Davis advised that this new work, combined with previous studies carried out over the past three decades and documented in Disconnect, reinforces the need for revamping current approaches to cell phone safety, and strengthens the need for a major research program on cell phones and health, overhauling approaches to setting standards, and putting warnings on cell phones.

EHT is working with experts and governments across U.S. cities and states, and around the globe, to encourage a major independent research program on cell phones and simple precautionary policies in the meantime. An unnamed industry executive applauds the new educational initiative led by the EHT. "Right now, there is no monetary incentive to educate young children and teens on cell phone safety, since all funds go into upgrading the next-generation systems. Awareness in keeping the next generation through grass roots initiatives like the Campaign for Safer Cell Phones and the Get Wired Action Program, is our only tool right now to keep the next generation safe from brain cancer risks," says the executive who spoke anonymously.

While research is ongoing, EHT encourages simple precautions to reduce microwave radiation to the brain and body, precautions endorsed by a number of governments and experts around the world. Phones should be used with headsets or speakerphones and not kept directly on the body, and children should take special care not to have direct exposures, EHT advises.

Simple, low-cost measures-such as the use of text messages, hands-free kits and/or the loudspeaker mode of the phone-could substantially reduce exposure to the brain from mobile phones.

"To conclude that cell phones are safe misreads the science and misleads people," Dr. Davis cautions. "Therefore, until deï¬nitive scientiï¬c answers are available, the adoption of such precautions, particularly among young people, is advisable."

For more information about the Campaign for Safer Cell Phones and the Get Wired Action Program, please contact Jeanne Ball at (307) 690-3041 or jeannecball(at)gmail(dot)com.

About Environmental Health Trust

Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Current multi-media projects include: local and national campaigns to ban smoking and asbestos; working with international physician and worker safety groups to warn about the risks of inappropriate use of diagnostic radiation and cell phones, exploring what factors lie behind puzzlingly high rates of fibroid tumors, breast cancer and endometriosis in young African American women, and building environmental wellness programs in Wyoming and Pennsylvania to address the environmental impacts of energy development, the built environment and radon. EHT was created with the goal of promoting health and preventing disease one person, one community and one nation at a time. Capitalizing on growing public interest in Dr. Devra Lee Davis's popular books, When Smoke Ran Like Water, a National Book Award Finalist, and The Secret History of the War on Cancer, and recent documentary films, the foundation's website will become the go to place for clear, science-based information to prevent environmentally based disease and promote health, and will have portals for the general public, children, and health professionals. For more information about getting involved in the numerous special projects spearheaded by the EHT, please log on to http://www.ehtrust.org.