But it would still be premature to conclude that cell phones definitely increase chances of brain cancer. This is so because many leading organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the FCC, have pointed out that none of the research studies show a direct correlation. In a study conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), more than 6,000 people with brain tumous were compared to more than 7,000 healthy people spread across 13 countries in Europe and North America. The study as not found any increase in tumors associated with the first 10 years of cell phone use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also seconded this view, stating that it would take atleast 15-20 years of consistent exposure to cell phones to suffer any health hazard. Since there are no longitudinal studies done over these many years, we have to wait and watch as more data is accumulated. The currently available data doesn’t attribute any risk to cell phone usage, but “we need more definite answers about the biological effects of cell phone radiation, and about the more complicated question of whether mobile phones might cause even a small increase in the risk of developing cancer.” (Nordenberg 19)
Hence, to sum up, there is no consensus as to the link between brain cancer and cell phone usage. There are reports in the media and scientific journals that warn people of the risks of getting brain cancer, eye cancer, etc. They claim that children’s fragile skuls heighten risk of brain cancer. Even some epidemiologists have warned that they cannot rule out the possibility of harm from cell phone radiation and that they must do more research. But there is the opposing camp which rejects these claims outright. They say there is very little evidence for linking brain cancer to cell phone usage. They question out that if electromagnetic radiation were so powerful, we don’t we get cancer from the wiring in the walls, hair dryers, electric blankets, or the power distribution wires nearby? (Leikind) Hence both sides do not have concrete evidence to prove or disprove each other’s claims. In the meantime, a few safety measures could be practiced to minimize possible risk. These are:
“Use hands-free devices (a Bluetooth has an SAR value of around 0.001 W/kg [ACS 2008]) or the speakerphone. Limit the number and length of the calls you make. Alternate the side of the head you hold the phone against and limit calls in rural areas (more radiation is emitted in these areas because of the farther distance to cell towers).” (Liberatore 70)
- Leikind, Bernard. “Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?” Skeptic (Altadena, CA)Spring 2010: 30+.
- Liberatore, Stephanie. “Q My Students Are on Their Cell Phones All the Time! Do Cell Phones Really Harm the Brain? and What about the Teen Brain?” The Science Teacher3 (2009): 70.
- Nordenberg, Tamar. “CELL PHONES & Brain Cancer No Clear Connection.” FDA Consumer 2000: 19.
- Salford, Leif G., Arne E. Brun, Jacob L. Eberhardt, Lars Malmgren, and Bertil R. R. Persson. “Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones. (Research).” Environmental Health Perspectives7 (2003): 881+.