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Cell Phones May Cause Cancer

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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.

Industry leaders, however, insist that their products are safe, even when several of their own studies proved otherwise.

Sources: Christensen, et al., Cellular telephones and risk for brain tumors. A population-based, incident case–control study, Neurology 64 (2005)1189–1195.

Hours, et al., Téléphone mobile, risque de tumeurs cérébrales et du nerf vestibuloacoustique:l’étude cas-témoins INTERPHONE en France (Cell Phones and Risk of brain and acoustic nerve tumours: the French INTERPHONE case–control study), Revue d’Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique (2007).
Hepworth, et al., Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in adults: case–control study, BMJ 332 (April 15 (7546)) (2006) 883–887.

Schüz, et al., Cellular phones, cordless phones, and the risks of glioma and meningioma (Interphone Study Group, Germany), Am. J. Epidemiol. 163 (March 15 (6)) (2006) 512–520.
Hansson Mild, et al., Pooled analysis of two Swedish case–control studies on the use of mobile and cordless telephones and the risk of brain tumours diagnosed during 1997–2003, Int. J. Occup.
Safety Ergon. (JOSE) 13 (1) (2007) 63–71.

Vrijheid, et al., Validation of short term recall of mobile phone use for the Interphone study,
Occup. Environ. Med. 63 (April (4)) (2006) 237–243.

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

Add a Comment2 Comments

That's not entirely true, trace amounts of blood CAN transmit between mother and child. That's why mothers can develop antibodies to their babies if they are a different blood type and why RH negative mothers are offered anti-D injection.

It depends where you have your phone as well. I have carried mine in my coat pocket before which is pretty close to my ovaries, and left it on in case someone calls me. It isn't just an issue when you are actually talking on the phone.

February 4, 2010 - 3:38am
EmpowHER Guest

"Will the genetic damage, since in blood, transmit to unborn babies and cause them to be genetically weaker?"

No. You failed biology class, didn't you?

There are two reasons that's not possible.

1. A child's genetic material comes exclusively from germ cells--sperm and eggs. Even if EM emitted by cell phones was harmful, you hold your phone next to your head, not next to your ovaries.

2. Blood isn't "transmitted" between mother and child. As a woman and *someone writing about health topcis*, I would expect the author to be aware that one of the functions of the placenta and umbilical cord is to allow the mother and child to exchange oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste products without actually sharing blood.

Please, do some research next time.

January 19, 2010 - 4:34pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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