Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, sent a memo to staffers warning them to limit their cell phone use and to use hands-free sets in the wake of "growing evidence that we should reduce exposure" to cell phone radiation. Among the possible consequences: an increased risk of brain cancer.
Five months later, a top official at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) told a congressional panel that published scientific data indicates cell phones are safe.
Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation, which differs from the ionizing radiation of x-rays and radioactive material in that it does not have enough energy to knock around—or ionize—electrons or particles in atoms. Cell phone radiation falls into the same band of nonionizing radio frequency as microwaves used to heat or cook food. But Jorn Olsen, chair of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health says that unlike microwaves, cell phones do not release enough radiation or energy to damage DNA or genetic material, which can lead to cancer.
Recent research suggests, however, that although short-term exposure is harmless, long-term cell phone use may be a different story. Three studies since 1999 indicate that people who have used cell phones for more than a decade may have as much as three times greater risk of developing brain tumors on the side of the head against which they most often hold their phone—an argument for, at the least, shifting ears regularly or, even better, using an earpiece or the speakerphone feature while chatting.
So, what does the evidence show about mobile phones and cancer?
So far, the scientific evidence shows it is unlikely that mobile phones could increase the risk of brain tumours, or any other type of cancer. But we do not know enough to completely rule out a risk.
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phones for the first time in their 'gold-standard' rating system. They said the devices could 'possibly' cause cancer in humans (group 2B), but there wasn't enough evidence to come to a clear conclusion. Read what we said at the time on our.
Mobile phones and cancer rates
The use of mobile phones has skyrocketed over recent decades. If mobile phones increase the risk of brain tumours, more and more people should now be developing them.
But we haven’t seen an increase in brain tumour rates to match the increase in mobile phone use. For example in the UK, the rate of brain tumours has not changed dramatically since the 1990s - and the small increase we have seen is thought to be due to better diagnosis and data collection. However, brain tumours can take many years to develop, so it is possible that incidence rates would only start rising after more time.
Is the radiation from mobile phones dangerous?
There still aren't any good explanations for how mobile phones could cause cancer. The radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation they transmit and receive is very weak. This radiation does not have enough energy to damage DNA, and cannot directly cause cancer.
In 2012 an independent report concluded that there is no convincing evidence that being exposed to radiofrequency fields, including those from mobile phones, within the guidelines could affect somebody's health.
The UK follows a set of international safety standards, which restrict the amount of electromagnetic radiation people can be exposed to and have a very large safety margin.
What are the Risks Of Cell Phones?
Cell phones emit a form of electromagnetic field called radio frequency (RF) radiation. We have long been led to believe that this radiation is harmless because of the low power levels involved, and because it’s non-ionizing.
Unfortunately, this cell phone radiation has the ability to penetrate our bodies and cause untold damage.
Perhaps the biggest red flag is the World Heath Organization (WHO) classification. In 2011, the WHO finally took a position on the issue and classified cell phone radiation as a possible 2B carcinogen. True, the WHO did only classify cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, not a probable carcinogen.
But a growing number of experts believe this classification does not sufficiently protect the public. Then there are the thousands of peer-reviewed studies which support the claim that cellphones cause cancer.
Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Using Your Cell Phone a Half Hour Per Day Increases Your Risk of Brain Tumor By 40%
Thousands of studies link cell phone radiation to a long list of serious illnesses. But can cell phones cause brain cancer? Cell phone radiation exposure has been principally linked to two types of brain tumors − gliomas and acoustic neuromas.
Gliomas – a type of tumor that starts in the brain or spine are typically malignant and they are particularly deadly. Most people survive only 1 to 3 years after diagnosis of this kind of tumor.
Acoustic neuromas – though non-malignant (low-grade cancer), are in many cases life threatening given that they are an intracranial (within the skull) tumor.
The Interphone Study is the granddaddy of all the study findings into cell phone radiation and the safety of cellphones for humans. At a cost of $25 million, this is the largest study of cell phone use and tumor risk conducted to date. It found that “regular use of a cell phone by adults can significantly increase the risk of gliomas by 40% with 1640 hours or more of use.” This equates to about 30 minutes per day over ten years.