Cancer Links and Cell Phone Use Continue to be StudiedJun 15, 2016
There are three basic reasons why people are concerned that cell (also called "wireless" or "mobile") phones might have the potential to cause certain types of cancer or other health problems. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Tissues nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy.
As of December 2014, there were more than 327.5 million cell phone subscribers in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is almost a threefold increase from the 110 million users in 2000. Globally, the number of subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union to be 5 billion, according to the National Cancer Institute.
A 2-year study investigating the potential health hazards of cell phone use on rats and mice, conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), has just concluded that cell phone exposure increases the incidence of malignant gliomas of the brain, i.e., brain cancer, and schwannomas, also known as neuromas, of the heart in the male rats. Schwannomas are not cancers, but are tumors and can seriously impact the protective sheathing of the peripheral nerves. This can lead to disability and severe pain, Scientific American reports.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested some steps that concerned cell phone users can take to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency energy. Reserve the use of cell phones for shorter conversations; use a device with hands-free technology, such as wired headsets, placing more distance between the phone and the head of the user. Exposures decline dramatically when cell phones are used hands-free, reports the National Cancer Institute.