Do cell phones cause cancer?
This week the World Health Organizations officially classified cellphones as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
This statement was made from a team of 31 scientists from 14 countries who made this decision after reviewing the data from previous peer-reviewed studies. The team looked for links between cancer and the type of radiation found in cellphones.
Their conclusion was to classify cellphones in category 2B which means cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Other compounds in the 2B category include lead, nickel, DDT, chloroform and gasoline exhaust.
Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said this new WHO report is important "first and foremost just because of the large number of users worldwide that have access now to this technology." Globally, it's estimated there are 5 billion cell phones being used, that's three fourths of the population on earth.
However, because cellphone usage habits have changed since the early studies, it's difficult to know whether the conclusions from previous studies are still relevant today. Also, the current studies haven't looked at usage longer than 10 years. So, there is a lot more research to be conducted to get a clear sense of whether cell phones actually cause cancer.
In the meantime, if you are concerned about any potential health risks of cellphones the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have suggested some steps to take including:
- Use of cell phones mainly for shorter conversations, or for times when a landline phone is not available. - Switch to a cell phone with a hands-free device that will place more distance between the phone and your head.