Brain tumour linked to cellphone use?

This has been the subject a great deal of debate in recent years. Cellphones give off radiofrequency (RF) rays, a form of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum between FM radio waves and those used in microwave ovens, radar, and satellite stations. Till now, it has not been proved that RF waves can cause brain tumours, but at the same time, it remains to be proved that RF waves are absolutely safe.

It is ionizing radiations  that has been proved to cause cancer by damaging the DNA inside cells. Cellphones do not give off ionizing radiation.
In 2011, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone radiation as Group 2B – possibly carcinogenic. That means, there “could be some risk” of carcinogenicity, so additional research into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones needs to be conducted.

Some studies pertaining to mobile phone RF rays have made a few observations -Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease.

  • Researchers have made some inconclusive studies that exposure to very high signal cellphone radiation led to a slightly increased risk of malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart in male rats
  • Tumours are more likely to occur on that side of the head where the cell handset is used. One hour of cell phone use per day may increases tumour risk after ten years or more
  • Also it’s  possible that children who are increasingly using cell phones are at a higher risk (4-5x) as the skull thickness is less, allowing more radiation penentration.  
  • Sperm die three times faster and experience triple the damage to mitochondrial DNA compared to sperm from men who are not exposed to cell phone radiation

However all these needs to be proved with further research and studies.

For now, recommendations to reduce such risks can be by,

  • Using an earpiece so that the handset is away from the head. Never keep cellphone under your pillow. Keep cellphones in handbags rather than in  pant or shirt pockets
  • Keep the mobile phone away from you when you’re dialing to connect. Phones use more radiation during connection time
  • Avoid continuous talking for more than 15-20 minutes
  • Increase the use of texting. Keep cellphone away from body while pressing ‘send’
  • Do not use cellphones in a car without an external antenna
  • When on high speed, cellphones try to connect with different network antennas thus increasing the radiation exposure. So avoid using cell phones in moving vehicles, lifts, during jogging and so on
  • People who use phones continuously like receptionists and call centre workers are advised to use more of landphones
  • Make sure that the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of our mobiles are less than 1.6 units. Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by human body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF)electromagnetic field. It is measured as watts per kilogram (W/kg)
  • Bluetooth devices give off much lesser RF radiation than cellphones but since they are in close contact with the body, the area of radiation dissipated is much less thus increasing radiation absorption per kg body weight. Thus its safety is questionable and hence should be used with caution

Latest blogs