Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
We know that excessive use of mobile phones can cause certain health problems, such as stiff neck muscles, eye strain, and sleep disturbance. Besides, talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of car accidents. But there is no clear answer to one question: can a cell phone cause brain cancer?
Mobile phones and cancer: there is no need to panic
A new British study, published on May 2 in the journal Environmental and Public Health, caused a flurry of news, the headlines of which claim that mobile phones still cause cancer. Scientific work has shown that the incidence of glioblastoma in England (the most common malignant brain tumor) doubled between 1995 and 2015.
“The article itself is not about cell phones,” said Alasdair Philips, one of the authors of the study, “this is just about the change in the number of tumors… but cell phones really seem to be the most likely cause.”
Philips noted that tumors are primarily located “in the frontal and temporal region of the brain”, which raised suspicion about the effect of mobile phones on glioma formation. However, he also indicated that malignant brain tumors are relatively rare, which means that the risk is quite low, even if there is some kind of connection with mobile phones.
A noticeable increase in the use of mobile phones occurred precisely during the study period. Mobile phones use radio waves to send and receive cell tower signals. Because people hold their phones very close to their heads, many scientists have tried to figure out what effect they have.
Most researchers have not been able to provide clear evidence that the radiofrequency waves are strong enough to directly damage DNA or heat the body tissue.
“Most published studies have failed to show the relationship between the effects of mobile phone radio frequencies and health problems,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
Thus, due to the lack of clear evidence, British scientists criticized this study, believing that it is misleading and based on assumptions but not on a clear causal relationship.
Dr. Lion Shahab, a senior lecturer at University College London, said the increase in malignant brain tumors is not the same as the increase in the use of mobile phones, in contrast to the increase in the popularity of smoking, which shows an exponential increase lung cancer over the past few decades.
“It is well known that the incidence of brain cancer has been increasing since such cases began to be recorded in the country in 1971. The authors of the study did not provide anything new here, ”said Paul Pharoah, professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge.
Experts added that there are many other factors that should also be considered: an increase in air travel and computed tomography, which can also be sources of the harmful effects of radiation.
How to avoid the harmful effects of the cell phone?
The brain is most susceptible to the influence of a cell phone. Therefore, when using mobile devices, the following safety rules and regulations must be observed:
- Limit the time and frequency of use of the device: you should not talk by phone more than 2-3 minutes per call and more than 10-15 minutes per day;
- If possible, do not use the phone where the connection is bad (elevator, underground rooms, vehicles, etc.), since under such conditions the device is trying to find a transmitter antenna, and because of this, its radiation is amplified many times. The same can be said of rural areas located far from antennas, where the connection is often bad;
- Use the phone in enclosed spaces (car, house) less often, because the waves emitted by it can be reflected from walls and coatings, which increases radiation exposure several times;
- Remember: the wireless data transfer method (Bluetooth) adds extra radiation power to the mobile phone. Therefore, it is better to use a wired headset;
- Do not bring the phone close to your ear while it is in the process of searching for a network operator (this happens when you turn on the phone and when the connection is very bad). At this moment, the device “harms” to the maximum;
- Relieve yourself of the habit of sleeping next to your cell phone. Be sure to turn it off before bedtime!