If you’re like the vast majority of people these days, your cell phone is not just your friend − it’s more like an appendage. But then your smartphone has so much to offer. Besides using it for calling and texting, you can surf the Internet, use it as a personal organizer, game console, and take pictures and video with ever-increasing quality. So is your cell phone really a friend, or is it actually your foe? And most importantly… can cell phones cause cancer? Well, the largest study ever on cell phones and cancer has just been completed by the National Toxicology Program and while it revealed some interesting findings it may not have settled the decades long debate.
Wireless microwaves have been around for a long time as a form of communication technology and of course, in your kitchen to cook your food. There is a legendary story about a researcher standing next to a radar and it melted the candy bar in his pocket. Now decades have passed but this same type of technology was now integrated into hand held phones in the 1970’s and 80’s with many speculating that as long as it is not creating heat and causing your body to warm up we should be ok from a lower level exposure to this technology.
And so, every since cell phones came on the market in the 80’s there has been a big debate. We are an electric-based species that has electricity running through us and so how that might be affected by cell phone technology when we put it close to us has been very hard to determine its overall effects.
What researchers essentially did was they exposed mice and rates to the cellphone radio frequency energy for two years (though they did imply that it was difficult to determine the exact dosage or amount to use based on the size of the mice and rates since how much they absorb is based on their weight, size and many other factors). But when they did their experiments and exposed these test animals to cellphone radio frequency energy they did notice that there was an increase, in the male rats only, of two types of tumors: one in the heart and one in the brain. These same tumors found can also be associated with human tumors.
So their assumption was that if both rats and humans have similar-type cells found in the heart and brain and if male mice develop an increase of tumors in those areas after exposure to cellphone radio frequency energy for two years then this could also correlate to humans as well.
This was an alarming finding by the researchers; so much so they had to announce this tumor finding back in 2016 before their research was completed. That said, the finished research is now out with mixed results stating that it is unclear if there is a strong correlation between cellphones causing cancer.
And so their findings are unclear mainly because these rats and mice, during the experiment, were exposed to an equivalent about 9 hours of talking on your cellphone per day for 2 years. Which might not be indicative of normal cell phone usage by humans.
This study would most certainly show that there are biological effects from cellphone use. Clearly, people don’t seem to speak on their phone long enough everyday for any detrimental effects. Most people don’t put their phone up to their ear and talk for long amounts of time as most now text each other. Regardless of the study, I’d try to keep the following rules in mind when using your cellphone:
- Try to use a wired headset when talking on the phone
- Avoid making or receiving calls with the phone close to your body in places with bad reception. Reason being, if you have low signal, your phone is going to work much harder to push that signal to the cell tower thus increasing your exposure to the cell phone radiation
- Put your phone on airplane mode when you are not using its wireless functions
- Avoid carrying your cell phone in your pocket or anywhere on your body when it’s switched on
- Choose to text instead of calling if possible