Are cell phones safe?

Researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life reported that people who use cell phones for more than an hour a day for ten years are at significantly increased risk for brain cancers (International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, April, 2006). This study disagrees with the Dutch Health Council study and a British survey, both released this year, that failed to show increased any risk. Most studies so far have failed to show an association between cell phones and brain tumors.

Cell phones emit low dose microwaves that do not cause cancer because unlike X rays, they are not strong enough to break bonds that hold molecules together. The only way that microwaves can cause cell damage is by producing heat. A study in the British journal, Nature (May 25, 2001) showed that microwaves cause roundworms to release heat shock proteins that are a sign of tissue injury.

Nobody is concerned with the energy generated by electromagnetic waves that come into your cell phone. The concern is the energy necessary to send a signal from your phone to the tower many miles away. This 800 to 900 MHz range radio frequency comes almost exclusively from the antenna on the phone and not from the phone itself. Since the issue is not settled, it would be wise to keep the antenna at least two inches away from your skin, preferably with a wired or wireless earpiece. Sound waves in an earpiece have never been implicated in any type of damage.

June 15, 2006

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