According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone. Despite conducting numerous studies for decades, we still aren’t sure if there is a link between cancer and mobile phone usage. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. If one of the most common devices we use every day is contributing to this trend, we could all be in a lot of trouble.
For years, researchers have tried to draw a connection between cell phone usage and various types of cancer. However, finding a definitive answer turns out to be more complicated than you might think. Because some types of cancer take a long time to develop. Along with the fact that we’re exposed to a variety of potentially carcinogenic substances on a daily basis. It’s difficult to rule out other causes. Here’s what we’ve learned so far about whether cell phones could cause cancer.
Mobile phones Emit Radiation, But It Probably Isn’t Harmful.
We know that cell phones emit a form of electromagnetic radiation known as radio-frequency energy. This is the same type of radiation produced by televisions, radios, wifi, and other technologies. These radiations that rely on wireless transmissions, and we are constantly surrounded by these radio frequencies.
Before you head for a bunker, you should know these are low energy frequencies that are not known to cause harm to people. In fact, this type of radiation, known as non-ionizing radiation, is in an entirely different category than the harmful radiation associated with x-rays and nuclear reactors.
The only consistently confirmed biological effect of these energy waves is heating. In a similar way that microwave ovens can heat food. Radiation from cell phones heats the areas of our body where the device is held. However, this effect isn’t significant enough to cause the kind of damage to the DNA in our cells that would lead to cancer.
Some researchers have suggested that radio-frequency energy affects glucose metabolism in the brain. Though studies into this have provided inconsistent results so far. Studies into whether radio frequencies affect the flow of blood in the brain have also shown no conclusive results. So while it may be worth considering that using your mobile phones may heat up the cells in your ear and face. It’s not likely to cause anything more than temporary discomfort.
Contrary Information from Studies on Rats
Preliminary results from a study by the National Toxicology Program suggest that mobile phones exposure increases the incidence of malignant gliomas in the brain. Also, as well as benign tumors in the heart within rats. Though they only measured a 3 – 4 percent increase, these are rare conditions, and similar tumors have been found in humans. As with other studies into this, some researchers have serious doubts about the results. However, this study took place over a long period of time, with higher levels and frequency of exposure than previous studies that have had negative results.
Ways You Can Reduce Your Exposure
Even though we have not been able to confirm a connection between cellphone use and cancer, you may want to limit your exposure, just to be safe.
- The greater distance you keep between your phone and your head, the less you’ll be exposed to radio frequencies. Using the speakerphone function or a wired headset during calls is the best way to accomplish this.
- Carrying your mobile phone in a bag or backpack instead of in your pocket can reduce your exposure between calls.
- Many people use their cell phone as an alarm clock, which unfortunately keeps your phone near your head. Turning your phone off at night will reduce the amount of radiation you’re exposed to as your body is attempting to rest and heal.
- You can invest in a phone case that provides electromagnetic field (EMF) protection.
- Though this may be difficult, you could also turn your mobile phone off when you’re not using it.
Is Your Mobile Phone Dangerous?
If you’re worried about ways your mobile phones can harm your health, cancer shouldn’t necessarily be among your concerns. Cellphones are more likely to cause harm on the road as more and more drivers are texting while driving which contributes to around 9 deaths and 1,060 people injured per day.
The trend of people taking selfies has also contributed to the cell phone related death toll. As more and more people place themselves in dangerous situations in order to take the perfect selfie. People lean over cliffs, hang from tall buildings, and stand too close to wild animals. These are done for the sake of a photo.
Until researchers find conclusive evidence linking cell phone usage to cancer rates. It’s likely we will continue to be a culture centered heavily around our phones. Perhaps as we study cell phones’ effects on younger generations. We will gain a better understanding of their true impacts on our health. For now, aside from being distracted by our phones in dangerous situations, it seems we’re safe.