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Israeli Study Points to Cellphone Cancer Risk

Aug 12, 2013

A newly published Israeli study shows a connection between cellphone use and increased risk of cancer.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University, Rabin Medical Center, and the Technion studied the salivary glands of 20 long-term, heavy-use cellphone consumers and 20 deaf subjects who did not use cellphones or used them for text messaging only, the Times of Israel reports. Heavy cellphone use was defined as a mean of 12 years of 30 hours of use a week.

Because a cellphone in use is generally quite close to the salivary glands, the researchers hypothesized that the effects on cancer risk could be determined by analyzing the saliva of users. They found that compared to the non-users, the cellphone users’ saliva showed higher indications of oxidative stress, regarded as a major risk factor for cancer. The study was published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling.

Dr. Yaniv Hamzany of Tel Aviv University said the findings suggest there is “considerable oxidative stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cellphone when in use,” according to the Times of Israel. Hamzany also noted that oxidative stress, caused by radiation emitted by the phone, is linked to cell mutations that can lead to the development of cancerous tumors.

Many experts believe the levels of non-ionizing radiation emitted by cellphones are too low to modify cells. But a panel from the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization concluded that cellphone radiation is possibly carcinogenic and the WHO placed cellphone emissions in the same category as engine exhaust, lead, some industrial chemicals, and the pesticide DDT, according to the Times.

While these results do not establish a direct relationship between cellphone use and cancer, they do show a clear connection between heavy cellphone use and molecular changes that could lead to cancer.

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