Mobile Danger

Reporter: Frank Pangallo

Australians are addicted to their mobile phones - with a population of 21 million there are a staggering 22 million phones in use.

And it all has Dr. Vini Khurana, one of the world's top brain surgeons, more than alarmed. "If we think about mistakes that societies have made they include smoking, asbestos, thalidomide, tanning booths, the U.V. tanning booths, solariums -- all of these were condoned by societies and governments. It is possible that electro-magnetic radiation from mp may turn out to be a similar mistake and the thing is we can't afford to make that mistake," says Dr Khurana.

In this digital age our bodies are being bombarded by invisible electro magnetic radiation, leaking from appliances in the home, at work, or out in the open.

S.A. Parliamentary staffer Sarah Benson has produced an eye-opening report into the links between electro-magnetic radiation and health problems, after trawling through more than a decade of credible scientific papers. "They don't realise because it is invisible and it is increasing all the time. We've got 3G, the Wi Fi networks, we've got further exposure all the time also 12000 satellites orbiting the earth, so yes a huge amount of exposure which is increasing every day," says Sarah.

"The Telecommunications industry in Australia and around the world, are acting very irresponsibly and they are afraid of class actions being brought against them as the brain tumour incidents mounts around the world," she adds.

"There are hundreds of papers that show biological effects of electro magnetic radiation even low intensity electro magnetic radiation such as that from cell phones on cells and tissues," says Dr Khurana.

So much evidence that even Dr. Khurana can no longer ignore the link to the rising rate of malignant brain tumours he's now seeing, particularly in younger age groups. "Everybody seems to know someone, whereas this wasn't in the state 15-20 yrs ago, so it leaves me to suspect we are in fact doing something wrong and I just don't think that we have the room for error when it comes to brain tumours because for all the research and for all the heroic efforts of scientists and physicians and paramedic medical staff alike, when your diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour your days are numbered," says Dr Khurana.

Lawyer Robert Sallis credits Dr. Khurana with saving his life after a recent brain aneurism. He doesn't know what caused it but he has his suspicions.

So just how safe are we from the electronic wizardry that has changed our lives? We conducted some rudimentary testing using a hand held device we bought for one hundred and fifty dollars which measures low and high frequency radiation levels and a thermo imaging camera.

It's the same technology used by health authorities to screen people at airports for swine flu. Peter Verskine's business uses them to detect temperature variations in buildings and equipment.

"Obviously a lot of power and energy used in phones and the thermal imaging camera will detect that level of energy and amount of heat that generates and it is conveyed to humans as the phone is used," says camera operator, Jim Scholz.

Here's how sensitive it is... as I sip on a cup of hot coffee which is around 51 degrees my body immediately glows a bright yellow indicating a two degree rise in my body temperature now watch what happens when I put my mobile phone to my ear and make a call.... that glow is caused by heat and radio frequencies radiating into my ear.

"I've tagged certain spots to highlight what normal temperatures are. This allows us to compare with the next photo," says Jim.

"Because the mobile phone is so close to the body it has a very dramatic effect. In this case five degrees from where the phone is sitting to the opposite side which is only 30.5. The brain is an exquisitely tuned electrical organ… now we know that a mobile phone placed near a clock radio can cause an interference in the signal now how is it then that a mp placed next to the most exquisite electrical system there is could not cause interference," says Dr Khurana.

"There are billions of cells in the brain it only needs to create some sort of abnormality in one part of that cell to lead potentially to a situation where a brain tumour arises".

Radiation levels went off the scale with our hand held radiation detector -- from microwaves, washing machines, hair straighteners, plasma tv's, to wireless devices and mobile and cordless phones.

Sarah Benson says its time to review the current standards for mobile phones and wants their sale banned to children. "…no I wouldn't based on what I know and I would really recommend that children, not children but perhaps teenagers, if they do have a phone, to cut down on the use or use a hands free and not to put the phone next to their ear," says Sarah.

"It is possible that mobile phone technology is the 21st tobacco… it is possible," says Dr Khurana.

In a timely move Dr. Khurana is now overseeing the expansion of the neurosurgery unit at the Canberra Base Hospital that will make it one of the most advanced in the world with its services available to anyone in the country.

As for his mobile phone, Vini Khurana only uses it's speaker mode and he's also wary of Bluetooth and Wi Fi technology. "I would be very happy to be wrong about this issue. Unfortunately or fortunately one way or the other, nobody has come to me to show me where my science, where my research is in fact flawed," says Dr Khurana.