US state legislators are considering whether to put warning labels on cell phones after several studies have linked their usage with cancer. Cell phones use electromagnetic radiation and it is this that is thought to cause brain tumors.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association conducted a $25 million research project to study this issue and found that:
• There was a 50% increased risk of developing brain tumors in the people who used cell phones;
• A significantly increased risk of acoustic neuroma after a six year period of cell phone use; and
• Findings of genetic damage in the blood of cell phone users.
A further three follow up studies funded by the cellular telecommunications industry and two studies that were independently funded, found that there was an elevated risk of developing brain tumors from cell phone use and this risk increased by 20% for every year the person used a cell phone. The risk for children is even higher as the electromagnetic radiation is able to penetrate the child’s brain more deeply than an adult brain.
As cell phones have only been in widespread use since the 1990’s, no one is sure what long-term health impact they will have on future generations. Will the genetic damage, since in blood, transmit to unborn babies and cause them to be genetically weaker? There is some medical evidence to show that men who use cell phones, and in particular, who store them in their jeans pocket, are more likely to suffer infertility.
Andrea Boland, the House Representative for Maine, says that although some studies have differing results, there is a link between cell phone use and cancer and that the one million cell phone users in Maine should be aware of those risks.
Under her proposed legislation, manufacturers would have to label their phones and packaging with a non-removable warning about electromagnetic radiation and cancer. She also recommends that manufacturers advise their customers to keep the phone away from their head and body, particularly in the case of children or pregnant women and that these warning be accompanied by a visual graphic of a child’s brain.