Only now has this popular myth been re-investigated…only to confirm that cellphones may possibly increase the risk of cancer. The World Health Organization has placed cellphones in the same carcinogenic hazard category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.
An international panel of experts have reported that they found evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users, but have not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers.
“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.
The radiation that is emmited from cellphones, called non-ionizing radiation, harms brains the same way microwave ovens cook food. “What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain,” Black said. “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.”
Wireless industry responded to Tuesday’s announcement saying it “does not mean cell phones cause cancer.” CTIA-The Wireless Association added that WHO researchers “did not conduct any new research, but rather reviewed published studies.”
Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body.
The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says users’ radiation exposure should 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 millimeters (5/8 inch) away from the body.”
BlackBerry Bold advises users to “keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 inch (25 millimeters) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.”
The logic behind such recommendations is that the further the phone is from the body, the less radiation is absorbed. Medical experts say there other ways to minimize cell phone radiation. Users can use their speakerphone function or a wired earpiece to gain some distance.
Users can also text instead of talk if they want to keep the phone away from their faces.
Mobile phones produce the most radiation when they are attempting to connect to cellular towers. A moving phone, or a phone in an area with a weak signal, has to work harder, emitting more radiation. It’s smart to avoid using cell phones in elevators, buildings and rural areas if you want to reduce exposure, just to be on the safe side.
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