Do Cell Phones Really Cause Cancer?
As of 2007, there were 255 million cell phone subscribers in the U.S. Given the widespread use of the technology, the amount of attention that the possible link between cell phones and cancer has received is not surprising. Though the topic has been researched for years, the results of such research have been inconclusive. While the findings of some studies have warranted follow up, none has provided authoritative proof of the correlation between cell phone use and brain cancer. We will discuss the reasons behind the concern about mobile device induced cancer and evaluate if the concern is well-founded.
Why the Concern
Experts are concerned about the potential for cellular telephones to cause cancer for three main reasons, which we have enumerated below.
- These devices emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of radiation whose effects on the human body are not completely known
- This technology is fairly new and ever-changing, and so there is a dearth of long-term studies on the effects of RF energy on the human body
- The use of cellular telephones has exploded in recent years. In 2000, there were 110 million users. By 2007, this number had skyrocketed to 255 million.
If cell phones do cause brain cancer, RF energy would be the culprit. High levels of RF energy can heat body tissue to the point of causing biological damage. RF energy is the same energy in microwave ovens that heats food, but the heat produced by these devices is minor by comparison. Most studies have suggested that the level of RF energy emitted by mobile devices is insufficient to heat living tissue or cause an increase in body temperature. However, further research is needed before firm conclusions can be made about the health effects of RF energy.
The Bottom Line
The overwhelming consensus among medical experts and government agencies is that cell phones do not cause brain cancer. In fact, the FDA issued a statement a few years ago saying that, based on current research, there is no clear connection between mobile device use and cancer. On the other hand, all organizations and experts seem to agree that more research is needed on the subject. Comparatively few studies have been done on the subject, and the studies that do exist have had unclear results.
If you remain unconvinced about the safety of mobile devices and don't want to deal with the health insurance costs of brain cancer down the road, you can always use a headset or earpiece as an alternative. Keeping the phone away from your head and neck by using an earpiece or Bluetooth headset will reduce your brain's exposure to the phone's RF energy. You can also try limiting your usage if you are concerned about the risks.