WHO says cell phones are a cancer risk

WHO says cell phones are a cancer risk
The World Health Organization on Tuesday re-opened the controversial topic on whether or not cell phones can cause cancer in humans. 31 scientists from 14 countries came to the conclusion that radiation from mobile phones is "possibly carcinogenic to humans". Still, not enough long term studies have been conducted to make a definitive connection between cell phones and cancer. Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said that it will take a few decades of exposure before, "we really see the consequences."

According to the WHO, the radiation that comes from a cell phone is not like that of an x-ray, but is more like the radiation that comes out of a low-powered microwave oven. Like food cooking in a microwave oven, this radiation cooks the brain leading to the development of cancers and tumors and also possibly having an effect on cognitive memory functions since most people hold their handsets where the memory temporal lobes are located. As we have reported, cell phone radiation is non-ionizing which means it does not directly damage human DNA.

At the University of Pittsburgh, the head of a cancer research institute sent out a memo to employees telling them to limit cell phone usage because of the possible cancer risk. The European Environmental Agency considers cell phones to be at the same carcinogenic risk as leaded gasoline and asbestos. Dr. Henry Lai, research professor in bioengineering at University of Washington, has studied radiation for over 30 years and said that since brain cancer takes a long time to develop, it is a good idea to warn people that long term cell phone usage could possibly lead to cancer.

Some cell phone manufacturers already warn users to keep their handset away from their body. The Apple iPhone 4 manual says, "When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm away from the body." The guide for the Blackberry Bold tells users to, "keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting."

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The largest international study on cell phone radiation was released last year and showed that those using mobile handsets for 10 years had double the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor. So far, there have been no long term studies on the effect of cell phone radiation on children, although Dr. Black says that with their thinner skulls, radiation can find its way deeper into the brains of youngsters.

We would expect the cell phone industry to fight back with some statements as soon as today. The last word from the industry is that there is no conclusive evidence that radiation from mobile handsets cause cancer.

source: CNN

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