While research on the area of cell phones causing cancer has remained inconclusive, the recent study by the WHO has once again opened a can of worms.
The World health Organization now lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Before this announcement, the WHO had assured cell phone users that no adverse effects had been established.
A brief synopsis of the study undertaken by the WHO – A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, 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 they found some 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 You can download the full WHO report here.
Contradictory points of view – ABC news reports that some are wondering why, if there truly is a link between cancer and cell phone usage, there has not been a spike in brain cancer cases in the recent years, as cell phone usage has gone up dramatically. Of course time is a major issue as tumors take years and even decades to develop.
Previous research – At least 30 studies conducted in the last 5 years, on the same topic, have tried and failed to establish links between cell phone usage and cancer. One such study from Denmark (2007), studied 4,20,000 people and failed to find a link between cell phone use and cancer. Participants were tracked by matching phone records to people in the Danish cancer registry, who were diagnosed with cancer. Among the 4,20,000 callers tracked through 2002, 14,249 cancers were diagnosed — less than the 15,001 predicted by national cancer rates. The study did not find an increased risk for tumours either.
It’s better to be safer than sorry – Prevention, as we all know, is the much better alternative. Let the experts debate about whether we all face the risk of brain cancer with cell phone usage. While there is still no conclusive evidence, we should all take steps in avoiding this hazard instead of risking it. A hands-free is a must if you do talk on the cell phone a lot.
Tips to cut back on cell phone usage and reduce radiation – 1. Use the landline when possible. 2. Send an sms instead. Voice calls expose you to the highest amount of radiation. 3. Buy a phone with low SAR. When buying a mobile phone, opt for one that has a low SAR or Specific Absorption Rate. An ideal rate is <0.6 W/Kg. 4. Wait for a strong signal. Try to use your cell phone only when the signal quality is good. Cell phones emit much more energy seeking a strong signal when the reception is low. 5. Keep calls short.
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