May 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm #37452
WHO: CELL PHONE USE CAN INCREASE POSSIBLE CANCER RISK
By Danielle Dellorto
May 31, 2011
It’s in the same “hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform
Until now, WHO has said no adverse health effects have been established
The cell phone industry maintains that there is no conclusive evidence of
Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World
Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same
“carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse
health effects had been established.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made
the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The
team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as “possibly
carcinogenic to humans.”
What that means is that right now there haven’t been enough long-term
studies conducted to make a clear conclusion if radiation from cell phones
are safe, but there is enough data showing a possible connection that
consumers should be alerted.
“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
The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It
is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.
“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what
happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition
to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole
host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory
temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.”
The voices urging caution to consumers have gotten louder in recent years.
The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell
phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded
gasoline. The head of a prominent cancer-research institute at the
University of Pittsburgh sent a memo to all employees urging them to limit
cell phone use because of a possible risk of cancer.
“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,” said Dr. Henry Lai, research professor
in bioengineering at University of Washington who has studied radiation for
over 30 years.
Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was
released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phones
for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor.
To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone
usage among children.
“Childrens’ skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate
deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are dividing
faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger.” said Black of
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep
their device away from their body.
The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says for users’ radiation exposure to not
exceed FCC guidelines, “When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or
for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least
15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body.”
Blackberry Bold advises users to, “keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98
in. (25 mm) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.”May 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm #37453
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