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Do Cellphones Cause Cancer? What We Know So Far

by Sean P. Aune | April 5, 2010April 5, 2010 6:01 pm PDT

There has been a lot of talk over the past several years about whether or not cell phones might cause tumors in those who use them heavily.  It isn’t a totally outrageous question because cell phones do emit RF (radio frequency) waves, the same thing that your microwave ovens use to cook your food.  So, yes, you are putting an RF transmitter against your head, but is it enough to potentially cause a brain tumor?

cell phone radiationMany studies have been launched over the past few years to see if there may be any fact behind the speculation that cell phones might be causing cancer.  The biggest issue has been that the studies have had to take the word of users for certain years of use due to the fact that the question didn’t come up until quite a few years after people started using them.  While many more studies are sure to be done that will track for people for years, and possibly even decades, for right now all information is pretty preliminary in its findings.

According to data collected by the American Cancer Society, which has followed all of the various studies, RF waves do indeed heat things they come in contact with, but the amount of waves produced by cell phones is not enough to potentially affect a user’s DNA, which means that it is highly unlikely that cell phones are capable of causing brain tumors.  There are instances where the RF waves emitted by the phones does increase to compensate for distance from a cell tower, the amount of cellular traffic in the area and so on, but even in those instances it still appears the levels are too low.

There are some steps that cell phone users can take to lower their potential risks:

  • Use a hands free system such as a wired headset or Bluetooth sets
  • Limit your use, and especially that of children
  • Choose a phone with a low radiation rating

At this time it really doesn’t appear to be that much to worry about, but it can never hurt to take the extra precautions if you can.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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