About 4 billion people worldwide use cellphones. Researchers have been debating for years on whether the radiation from cellphone use leads to health hazards such as cancer and other illnesses.
Perhaps, in no greater proof of how hot the debate is, infomercial peddlers such as Kevin Trudeau and television doctors such as Andrew Weil have declared that cellphone use are one of the risk factors for brain cancer.
Researchers are divided on whether radiation from cellphones poses health risks or not. Now, one non-profit organization adds some hard data to the argument: the radiation emission profiles of more than 1,200 cellphone models. The data won’t resolve the debate, but does give concrete information to consumers to help them make their buying decisions.
American cellphone radiation standards don’t make enough of an allowance for safety and ignore the impact of electromagnetic radiation on children, says the Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the radiation emissions from 1,268 cellphones. The group also looked at a number of recent research studies and supporting documentation from the handset makers to arrive at its conclusions.
“We think that based on current standards there’s increased risk of developing brain tumours in long term users — people who have used cellphones for more than 10 years — from radiation in cellphones,” says Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist at EWG, who worked on the report for about 10 months. The group has created a database of feature phones and smartphones that lists the maximum radiation each of the devices emits. “We want consumers to take steps they can take to minimize potential risks,” says Naidenko.
More scientific studies have tried to assess both short term and long term impact of cellphone usage. Yet there has been no conclusive evidence so far. That’s because earlier research studies didn’t have a pool of users available who had been on their cellphones long enough, says Naidenko.
“A lot of the studies that came out in 2000 and 2001 only looked at short term exposure, which is about four to five years and they didn’t see any risks from radiation,” she says. “But now that we see results from long term studies, we are seeing more evidence to the contrary.” Still Naidenko says the EWG’s data doesn’t conclusively prove a link between cellphone radiation and health risks. Until the evidence will prove with many cancers examples the actual situation will go further.
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