The U.S. National Toxicology Programme published a report in May 2016 regarding the association between use of cell phones and occurrence of brain cancer. Researchers found that there was more incidence of a type of brain and heart tumor in rats, who were exposed to radiation as against their counterparts, who weren’t exposed. The level of radiation as discussed in the study was equivalent to or higher than the amounts emitted by the cell phones. The brain tumors were termed as ‘malignant gliomas’ and heart tumors were called, ‘schwannomas.’
Dr. Andrew Weil says that this study is in consonance with other studies done on humans that suggested that radiation from cell phones can increase the chances of brain tumors. But, the strange thing is that only male rats developed them. Another strange finding was that the rats, who were not exposed to the radiation had shorter life spans as compared to the rats, who were exposed to the radiation. This raised questions on the outcomes of the study. The studies sought to determine the amount of radiation that those people were exposed to, who had developed brain cancer as a consequence of the use of cell phones. Here, the results are out of step with the held belief as it was based on a recall basis, i.e., how precisely people remembered the use of their cell phones and the way of holding the phones.
Again in 2011, The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer emphasized that the electromagnetic field of cell phones is carcinogenic for humans. This came after 31 scientists examined relevant literature and conducted research to find that there was limited evidence of positive correlation between the use of cell phones and gliomas. Although the study results were found to be credible but the fact that it could be purely due to chance or bias could not be ruled out.
However, some large-scale studies examined more than 3,50,000 people, who used cell phones in Denmark, and they found that there was no association between the usage of cell phones over long term and cancer. Also, it must be noted that despite the fact that the usage of cell phones has increased manifold in the U.S. over the last decade, there has been no increase in the cases of brain cancer.
Dr. Andrew Weil recommends some precautions that must be adopted to protect oneself from the risk of being too much exposed to radiations from the cellphones:
- Always use headsets or put your phone on the speaker mode while you are on a call. Newer air tube headsets provide considerable protection from radiation. Any headset is any day a better option than holding your phone on your ears. This is especially important if you are a frequent phone user.
- Do not use mobiles for long conversations; landline is a better option.
- Do not keep your phone very close to the body like clipping it in your belt. Put it in your purse or pocket.
- Whenever possible, instead of talking, you can text.
- Use phone when signals are strong. Fewer battery bars imply increased radiation.