Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cellular Phones and Cancer Risk
Peer Review Status: Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Information Service
The public has questioned the safety of cellular phones since the early '90s when a Florida man went on "Larry King Live" and said his wife's brain cancer was caused by using a cell phone. The man sued the cell phone company, but the suit was later dismissed. To make matters worse, a neurologist filed a lawsuit saying his brain tumor was caused by heavy cell phone usage.
The crux of the worry about mobile phones is because they operate on a radio frequency, ranging from 850-1900 mega hertz. In that range, the radiation produced is in the form of non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) energy. This RF energy is different than the ionizing radiation that comes from medical x-rays, which can cause health risks at certain dosages.
A cellular phone's main source of RF energy is its antenna. The closer the antenna is to a person's head, the greater that person's expected exposure to RF energy.
Many experts say that no matter how near the cell phone's antenna, the six-tenths of a watt of power emitted couldn't possibly affect human health. A cancer researcher and professor of radiation oncology has been quoted as saying that from a physics standpoint, the biological effects from cell phones are "somewhere between impossible and implausible."
Numerous studies have not shown clear links between cell phones and cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has concluded that while cell phones have been around for a relatively short time, the cancers that might have been caused would take a long time to develop and would not have been detected by these studies. Researchers suggest that future studies need to address the effects of long-term, heavy use of cellular telephones. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association are working jointly to evaluate health effects of repeated or long-term exposure to cell phones.
The FDA has made the following suggestions to cell phone users:
Last modification date:
Mon Aug 7 13:09:57 2006