Unless you’re living under a rock, you must have heard about the recent hype linking cell phone use as a carcinogen. I’ve been asked by several folks if this legit…or if it’s fear mongering tactics that the media has taken out of control. Honestly….I don’t know for sure.
In one of my cancer courses we had an expert from the CDC tell us there was nothing to worry about with cell phones. However, when The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) release a statement saying we should be worried, I take it seriously.
Here is a brief summary about WHO/IARC’s conclusion in case you do not want to read the whole thing.
- WHO/IARC announced that mobile phones are now classified as 2B carcinogenic hazard category. Which means “a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer…”
- To put that into perspective, there are 5 cancer classifications, and cell phones are now in the same cancer group as DDT, HPV, Gasoline and pickled vegetables (now that’s a whole other blog post).
- Group 1 Carcinogenic to humans
- Group 2A Probably Carcinogenic to humans
- Group 2B Possibly Carcinogenic to humans
- Group 3 Not classifiable (ie need more data)
- Group 4 Probably not carcinogenic to humans
- There is some evidence linking glioma and acoustic neroma brain cancer.
- Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiofrequency (RF), a form of electromagnetic radiation, which is what is under investigation for causing cancer.
- If you would like more info, here is a nice fact sheet that the National Cancer Institute released: NCI FACTSHEET
My suggestion, take the precautionary principal. Be a little cautious with your cell phone use until the WHO, the CDC, the phone manufactures understand the full scale effects of cell phone use on our bodies.
- Try to always use a headset or hands free set, which have been shown to emit less radiation. I personally use a wired headset and not a blue tooth, because blue tooth still emits radiation.
- Turn your phone off when you go to sleep.
- If you must leave it turned on, do not leave your phone in your bedroom while you are sleeping. Many people place their phones right next to their head on a side table or dresser, turned on….I know I use to.
- Go old school, get a land line. While you’re at home try to limit the use of your cell phone and use a land line.
- Hold the cell phone away from your body.
- According to IARC, a poor signal emits more radiation, so limit your use if you do not have a strong signal.
- A moving phone emits more radiation….more reason to not use your phone while driving.
- Research your next phone, here is a list of radiation emission from available cell phones Cell phone radiation level
- Children should not use or play with cell phones. Since their skulls are thinner, radiation penetrates deeper and faster then it would with adults.