Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?Russ Curran
Do cell phones cause cancer as a result of EMF’s or electromagnetic frequencies?
We first need to understand cell phone radiation and the cancer connection. These days, cell phones and other mobile devices are no longer just ‘optional’ gadgets. They are practically an extension of an average person’s limbs.
It is not uncommon to see people hooked to their devices whenever and wherever they are. Given that cell phones emit radiofrequency (RF) waves, is it safe to use our phones for extended periods?
First off, it is important to understand how cell phones work. Cell phones send and receive signals from cell towers using RF waves.
RF waves are a form of electromagnetic energy which is considered non-ionizing types of radiation. While they cannot directly damage the cell’s DNA, high levels of RF can heat up body tissues.
RF waves are strongest at the antenna so the closer to the head (in the case of making a phone call), the greater the exposure. As the person moves away from the phone, energy is quickly lost.
The amount of energy that a person is exposed to can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the amount of time on the phone, whether or not the user is using a hands-free method, distance, and path to the closest cell tower, amount of cell phone traffic in the vicinity, and phone model. Different phone models have different specific absorption rates (SAR). The SAR value is not absolute because it still depends on a person’s actual usage.
Can Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?
There are some studies that suggest RF waves from cell phones “might possibly help tumors grow.” One study by the US National Toxicology Program exposed groups of lab rats and mice to RF energy for about nine hours a day.
Results of the study revealed an “increased risk of tumors” in the male rats exposed to radiation. They also noted “possible increased risks of certain types of tumors in the brain and adrenal glands.”
While the study was conducted on lab rats, further research is still required to verify if the same results are applicable to people. It does, however, show a probable impact on human health. Further research still needs to be conducted to establish the link between RF waves from cell phone use and cancer. Current scientific evidence is enough reason for us to reassess our cell phone usage habits.
Experts suggest that, whenever possible, it is “best to keep as much distance from sources of radiation as we can.” For instance, avoid carrying your cell phone in one area of the body (e.g. pockets) and sleeping with it under the pillows.
It is also ideal to minimize screen time for kids who may be more vulnerable to radiation and frequencies from mobile devices. And while Bluetooth headphones may look cooler, they also utilize RF waves. If you can stick to the old-school plug-in headphones.
It is inevitable to use cell phones, especially in this digitally-driven and connected world. But, little by little, we can make small changes to our lifestyle habits to ensure that we are in control of our mobile habits and that we are mindful of how our usage can have an impact on overall health and wellness.