Cancer and cell phones

There was an AP article today about a researcher in the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute who is raising alarm about the possible link between cell phone use and brain cancer. Cell phone emit radiation between a tv and a microwave oven. While the new models are better than the older ones they still give off the radiation. There’s just no way around it since that’s how the signal is relayed and received.

You would never think to put your head in a microwave and most people don’t sit directly against their tv so what’s different about a cell phone? First a cell phone is designed to be against your head. Yes, you can now get those hand’s free headsets, but a lot of people still don’t use them. Second, a cell phone is portable and convenient. It has become ingrained in our instant gratification society. Even children are using them.

Here lies the biggest threat. Most research has been short or medium term in duration. The reasearchers are biased for cell phone being harmless and thus most of the results have confirmed minor risk. However, there is growing evidence that long term exposure to cell phone use has increased risk of brain damage and brain cancer. At what point does the minimum risk add up to become long term exposure has not been determined.

3 years ago my husband started getting headaches when he used a cell phone so (this among other reasons) we stopped using one. On the rare occasions he needs to use someone else’s phone, he still gets headaches. We know of others who also get headaches from cell phone use.

Having a friend’s dad die a few years ago from brain cancer, it’s not something I want to take a risk for getting or giving a device to my children which may cause it. It’s just not worth it no matter how small the risk. Even one child getting cancer from cell phones is too many.

The most common reason for getting cell phones for kids is safety. Yet only a very small amount of call made on cell phones are safety calls that can’t be made from elsewhere like pay phones. Sadly as more people start using cell phones, more companies are taking out pay phones, making it harder for those of us without a cell phone. Some calls are business related that need on-the-spot decisions but a vast majority of them are just chatter.

With all the risks, we should err on the side of caution. Instead it seems cell phone use is on the increase, especially among young people. Plus now wireless computer internet is becoming widespread. While this is safer because it isn’t right next to your head, it still worries me.

Perhaps I’m being a bit over conservative or jumping to conclusions. Still, I like my brain and especially my kids to work. I’d almost say cell phones and wireless devices are becoming the new cigarettes. 50 years ago or so when cigarette use was becoming widespread, it’s use was considered fashionable. The risks were considered minimal. Now we’ve had long-term studies and thousands of people have died from their use. We can keep this from happening with cell phones if we are cautious and put limits of usage on them now, especially for kids and young people whose brains are still developing. A cell phone should be a choice of last resort for communications not the first.

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2 Responses

  1. I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work 🙂

  2. Eric Lee,

    Thanks. With the widespread cell phone craze, I thought I’d through a word of caution in. These phones aren’t as harmless as they are made out to be.

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