An extensive study overseen by the World Health Organization has found that cell phone use may cause a slight but measurable increase in several types of tumors, some of which are dangerous.
The Interphone study, which was overseen by the World Health Organization, interviewed over 12,000 people in 13 countries in the first half of this decade.
The results have not yet been published, but a preliminary report says that it found “significantly increased risk” of tumors from using mobile phones for over 10 years.
This study found cell phones cause an increased risk of glioma, a type of brain tumor. It also showed an increased chance of getting acoustic neurinoma, a benign tumor of a nerve running from the ear to the brain, and tumors of the parotid salivary gland.
It's important to keep in mind that even with these increases, the odds of getting one of these tumors is still very low.
For example, gliomatosis cerebri is one of the most common type of brain tumor, but it still only affects about 1.3 people in 100,000. One part of the Interphone study found a 39% increase in the chance of getting this type of tumor from years of cell phone use. While this sounds dramatic, it means that the incidence in the population increases to just 1.8 people in 100,000.
The Interphone study does not seek to explain why cell phones are causing these tumors, only that cell phones users are slightly more likely to have them.
The head of this study, Dr Elisabeth Cardis, told The Daily Telegraph that “In the light of a number of studies which, though limited, suggest a possible effect of radio-frequency radiation, precautions are important.”
She recommends restricting children's access to cell phones. She also brings up hands-free kits as "interesting" possibilities, in addition to simply reducing the amount of time spent talking on the phone.
Choose the Right Phone
Not all mobile phones put out the same amount of radio waves. The Environmental Working Group recently published a ranking of over 1,000 phones.
According to this stude, smartphones putting out the most radio-frequency radiation include the T-Mobile myTouch 3G, BlackBerry Curve 8300 and 8330, BlackBerry Bold 9000, and the Palm Treo 600 and 650.
On the other side of the coin, models that put out the least include the Samsung Impression, Samsung Propel Pro, and BlackBerry Storm.
The Environmental Working Group has an online form that lets look up how many different phone models rank in output; this can be found on its website.
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