Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
We already know cell phones consume most of our lives. Talking, texting, ringtones, apps, and e-mails keep our fingers waving across our phones every other minute on a daily basis. While there can obviously be harmful social effects due to this (such as the degeneration of the English language due to text messaging and the consequential need for brevity), it can also have harmful health effects. In fact, it looks like cellular phones might need to come with a warning from the surgeon general just like cigarettes.
The World Health Organization is now officially reporting what many people have known for years: Cell phones emit enough radiation to possibly cause cancer. It was widely believed by several of the medical and other professionals who had been saying this that it would never be admitted because the reports would hurt the booming communications industry.
So what exactly does this all mean?
First of all, the WHO has listed cell phones in the same carcinogenic hazard category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform. Think about that. Scientists found an increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for cell phone users. Their evidence is not very extensive, however, because these two, like most types of cancer, take many years to develop. Such a fact probably will not bode well for children who use cell phones, as they will have more years of exposure than adults and thus will likely increase their risk of getting cancer (not to mention the fact that their skulls are thinner and their brains are not completely developed, making the harmful effects of prolonged cell phone use much worse).
The non-ionizing radiation emitted from a cell phone acts like a low-powered microwave on the brain, according to Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.”
No wonder we find it harder to remember people’s numbers these days!
What can we do?
There are a couple of options. For one, we could throw our phones away. That’s not very likely, but we can at least limit the use of cell phones and find a way to store them away from our bodies. Also, we can also choose phones that have lower radiation emissions. Finally, we can discontinue use when in rural areas, elevators, and buildings. These are areas where phones generally have weak signals and have to work harder to connect to cell towers.
So far, the studies have shown that the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor, doubles in patients who have used cell phones for 10 years or more, so the implications are serious. Hopefully, we will heed the warning and change the way we use our cell phones before the negative effects associated with cell phone use become more prevalent in our society.