New Report Prompts Renewed Concerns about Cell Phone Brain Cancer Risk
Cell phone usage has grown to include 5 billion people worldwide. While this statistic may seem staggering, the number of cell phones and intensity of use will likely grow at a rapid rate as cell phones continue to evolve from limited voice communication devices to do-everything electronic gadgets that provide GPS, Internet surfing, emailing, text messaging, online multi-media and more.
A review of studies by the World Health Organization has renewed concerns about a possible link between cell phones and brain cancer. The basis of the concern stems from radio-frequency electromagnetic fields produced by cell phones. Power lines, microwaves, computers, televisions, copy machines, and even natural sources produce this same type of radiation. The concern is that the close proximity of cell phones to the head may create a variety of health risks. While undetectable to the eye, scientists have proposed that electromagnetic radiation may pose serious health effects, ranging from childhood leukemia to brain tumors.
Many people mistakenly presume that cell phones are safe because they were approved when they were placed on the market. What many people do not realize is that cell phones actually made their way onto the market without any safety testing by slipping through a regulatory loophole. The telecommunications industry pressured federal regulators to allow cell phones on the market based on the “low power exclusion,” which distinguished cell phones from dangerous microwave ovens based on the amount of power used to operate a microwave. Because the dangers associated with radio frequency electromagnetic fields in microwaves were only known to occur with high power, the exemption was used to allow cell phones to be sold without safety testing.
When a person holds a cell phone close to one’s ear, it exposes a cell phone user to the highest level of energy. Particularly concerning is the view of George Carlo, Ph.D., JD, an epidemiologist and medical scientist who, from 1993 to 1999, headed the first telecommunications industry-backed studies into the dangers of cell phone use. Dr Carlo suggests that even a small amount of time spent on a cell phone is enough to trigger potential health risks. Much to the chagrin of the telecommunications industry that believed a favorable report would be forthcoming, Dr. Carlo’s team found that cell phone radiation caused DNA damage, impaired DNA repair, and interfered with cardiac pacemakers.
European research confirmed Dr. Carlo’s conclusions regarding potential dangers posed by cell phones finding that cell phone radiation contributes to brain dysfunction, tumors, and potentially to conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder, neurodegenerative disease, and behavioral and psychological problems.
While there is still debate about the relative danger posed by cell phones, the risk can be reduced by using a wireless headset whenever possible, or the speakerphone feature, as opposed to holding your cell phone close to your ear.
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