WHO Says Cell Phones may be Hazardous to Your Health

Cell phones may cause cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) After much debate, the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that radiation from cell phone usage may indeed cause cancer. Yet, the WHO says that "no adverse effects" from using cell phones have been established.

Along with lead, exhausts from buses and automobiles, WHO now lists cell phones as a "carcinogenic hazard." While cell phone use has surged in America since the 1980s, the mortality rate for brain cancer has fallen.

"Hold cell phone away from your head or use an ear piece."

Scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, analyzed peer-reviewed studies and defined personal exposure to cell phone radiation as a possible cause of cancer. While there haven't been enough long-term studies on cell phone safety, there is mounting evidence to suggest that there is a connection.

Keith Black, M.D., chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who has long suggested a link between cell phones and cancer, says that most environmental factors take decades to develop.

The radiation from cell phones is like that found in low-power microwaves. And the result is the same - the energy heats up the brain, which can eventually lead to cancer. There's also evidence that keeping the phone close to the head - the temporal lobes - can lead to cognitive decline, according to Black.

Dr. Black believes children and teens are at particular risk since their brains are thinner.

A 2010 international study showed that participants who used cell phones for 10 years or more, had twice the rate of brain gliomas, a type of tumor.

Cell phone manufacturers urge their customers to keep the devices away from their heads and bodies. Apple says 5/8 inches away, and Blackberry Bold suggests a nearly one-inch (0.98) distance.

According to the National Cancer Institute, estimated that 22,020 men and women will be diagnosed with brain cancer, and 13,140 men and women will die of cancer of the brain and other nervous system in 2010.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 31, 2011
Last Updated:
May 31, 2012