Are Cell Phones safe?!

June 23, 2011

Late last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that it had classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, based on an increased risk of developing a glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer.    Research has also illustrated an association between mobile phone use and two other types of tumors: Salivary gland tumors, and Acoustic Neuromas.

A multinational team of 31 scientists convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer released this verdict after a week long meeting in Lyon, France.  Panel chair Jonathon Samet, M.D., chairman of the preventive medicine department at the University of Southern California and an international authority on environmental causes of disease, said “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

“The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences,” said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage among children.  “Children’s skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger” said Black.

Dr. Henry Lai, a research professor in bioengineering at the University of Washington agrees;When you look at cancer development — particularly brain cancer — it takes a long time to develop. I think it is a good idea to give the public some sort of warning that long-term exposure to radiation from your cell phone could possibly cause cancer.”

Since children’s brains absorb twice as much cell phone radiation as those of adults, organizations such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends limiting cell phone use in children to emergency situations only.  You can download a full list of all of their recommendations by clicking here.

–Dr. Carly Bridge

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