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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Wearing Your Smartphone – Not Too Smart?

PHOTO: Google Glass, although not yet widely available to the public, joins smart watches, wrist phones and all kinds of wearable digital devices this holiday season  but scientists have health concerns about them. Photo credit: Wikipedia.org.
PHOTO: Google Glass, although not yet widely available to the public, joins smart watches, wrist phones and all kinds of wearable digital devices this holiday season but scientists have health concerns about them. Photo credit: Wikipedia.org.
November 13, 2013

SEATTLE - Wearable phones and computers are on wish lists as the holiday season approaches in Washington, but scientists are warning that research indicates they present likely health risks - especially from cell-phone radiation.

Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, exposed pregnant mice to close-up cell-phone signals and says he observed the offspring behaving like children with attention deficit disorder.

"I think all these radiation-emitting technologies deserve a proper evaluation that includes not only exposure to adults but what happens to the fetus, the most vulnerable stage of life," Taylor said.

Dr. David Gultekin, a research physicist at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, showed that cell-phone radiation creates hot spots in human brains - a troublesome finding. He said wearable gadgets often are brought to the marketplace with little concern for safety.

"When they're designing and developing a new product and introducing it, very rarely the health aspect of it is mentioned, or not mentioned at all," he said.

Many scientists question the accuracy of industry-funded research. They say money for government and foundation-funded research is scarce, and that when they report on the evidence of risk, the mainstream media - like those lab mice - have a short attention span.

Dr. Martin Blank, retired associate professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University and a DNA expert, said the growing amount of research is more than enough to prompt action.

"When you get a situation where a problem arises, you invoke what's known as the precautionary principle," he said. "You take a certain amount of precaution as a result of a risk that has been identified."

For now, advocates recommend keeping cell phones and other devices away from sensitive body parts and especially caution pregnant women against holding cell phones near their abdomens or in handbags carried near their bodies.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA