Mobile phones & cancer - is there a connection?
According to ElectromagneticHealth.org there are now 9 types of cancer linked to mobile phone usage. If you’re brave enough to look, their list is below.
- Glioma (Brain Cancer)
- Acoustic Neuroma (tumour on acoustic nerve)
- Meningioma (tumour of the meninges)
- Salivary Gland cancer (parotid gland in cheek)
- Eye Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Breast Cancer
Before you get too agitated though, many experts will tell you that the evidence is not at all conclusive. Certainly, our searches did not throw up a tonne of rock solid evidence into every cancer listed above! The links may be there, they may not. They may be tenuous or they may be strong but not fully supported by scientific studies yet. Here’s what we do know about the first two cancers on the list…
The World Health Organisation is at least one reputable group whose opinion and research we can probably trust. In 2011, their cancer research arm (IARC) made the decision to classify radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. They found evidence of mobile phone radiation being harmful to heavy users but stopped short of a definitive classification of carcinogenicity. They also limited the risk to just two types of brain tumours - glioma and acoustic neuroma. Supporting the association between brain cancer and mobile phone use is this meta-analysis that found that long-term users of mobile phones (that is, for over 5 years) had an increased risk of developing glioma.
If you’re wondering about the ‘how’, this paper explains the biological pathway by which mobile phone use could lead to cancer. In a nutshell, it’s all about free-radical damage. What happens is that radiation can interfere with the oxidative repair mechanisms. This can result in oxidative stress, damage to cellular components including DNA, and damage to cellular processes...the inability to repair leading to cancer. It’s believed that residential exposure to power lines and RF transmitters including mobile phones, base stations, broadcast antennas, and radar installations all put humans at risk.
10 top tips for mobile phone safety
- Keep your mobile away from your children – they are more susceptible to radiation due to their thinner skulls.
- Use a land line whenever possible - at home and at work.
- Switch it off when not in use - a mobile phone that is on will emit radiation, even when not in use.
- Only use your mobile when the signal is good - poor reception means greater radiation.
- Don't carry your mobile on your body - a shirt pocket lies over your heart and a trouser pocket can impact fertility.
- Don’t sleep with a mobile phone near your head - plus, try to remove all wireless devices from your bedroom.
- A portable home phone also emits dangerous radiation - so move the base station as far away from the bedrooms as possible.
- Use text messaging and hands free talking - to reduce your exposure.
- Use a safe (shielded) headset.
- Reduce your use of other wireless devices – go for hard wired options if possible.