More than 90 percent of American adults use cell phones, but relatively little is known about their safety. Various consumer groups have expressed concern that cell phone radiation may cause cancer. In May 2011, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IACR), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), formally categorized mobile phones as a “carcinogenic hazard” – and equated them to the hazards of exhaust fumes, chloroform, and lead.
The assertion was arrived at after 31 scientists from 14 countries analyzed peer-reviewed studies on cell phone usage and cancer safety. The scientists discovered that long-term mobile phone use increased one’s risk of developing malignant brain tumors, and thereafter reported that cell phones were indeed, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
However, the evidence did not reach a conclusive verdict as to the effect of cell phones and cancer radiation on other types of cancers. This may be because it takes decades of exposure to radiation before a definitive understanding of the outcomes can be determined. In addition, cancer, particularly brain cancer, develops over an extended period of time, which makes it difficult to arrive at conclusive results in a timely manner.
A $25-million animal study was conducted in 2016 to investigate the possibility of links between cancer and chronic exposure to the type of radiation emitted from cell phones and wireless devices. The findings, which chronicle a large number of rodents subjected to a lifetime of electromagnetic radiation starting in utero, present some of the strongest evidence to date that such exposure is associated with the formation of cancers the brains and hearts of rats. These study results have reignited the debate on whether or not everyday exposure to cell phones might affect human health.
The European Environmental Agency asserts that cell phones are as hazardous to one’s health as smoking, leaded gasoline, and asbestos, and it is actively pushing for more studies on the risks of mobile phone usage. Perhaps the topic of most concern is how cell phones may be affecting children and young people—and while no studies have been conducted, it stands to reason that the risks are even greater on this younger age group. That’s because children’s skulls and scalps are thinner than those of adults, and children’s cells divide at a faster rate, which indicates that radiation is able to permeate more deeply into a child’s brain.
Although more studies are necessary, our current understanding of the risks of extended cell phone usage—which includes the findings of an international study that proved that individuals who used cell phones for 10 years had double the rate of malignant brain tumor—is dire enough to warrant extreme caution.
So how should you safeguard yourself from the hazards of cell phone usage and the risk of developing cancer? A good policy would be to use the speakerphone function or a wired headset instead of holding your cell phone against your head. When choosing a headset, look for one with a ferrite bead because the wire itself emits radiation into your ear, and the bead is designed to absorb the radiation. When using the speakerphone function, hold the cell phone a minimum of a few inches away from your head and body—12 to 24 inches is ideal. Never wear your phone or keep it in your pocket or clipped to your belt, because doing so will allow the phone to emit radiation into your body. Turn your phone off at night, or use a cell phone shield (like the DefenderShield Case) or an adhesive-backed disc (like The Neutralizer by Aulterra) which neutralize EMFs and render them harmless to the human body.
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