How Dangerous are Cellphones?

Samantha Fraembs, Reporter

One of the biggest questions cell phone consumers ask today is “Blackberry or iPhone?” There may be another factor when deciding, one that is more vital to your health than BBM or .5 million apps. Recent studies revealed enough evidence to classify cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The World Health Organization listed mobile phones under the same category of carcinogenic hazards as chloroform, lead, and engine exhaust.

Researchers from 14 different countries have concluded that cell phone use increases glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer. Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation to communicate with towers and other mobile devices. This form of radiation is comparable to that of a low powered microwave. According to Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,”What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.” There is no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation causes cancer. Although the radiation emitted from cell phones does cause heating, it is not enough to raise body temperature, indicating that the radiation may not be strong enough to affect the body. Scientists also argue that holding a cell phone next to your head may increase cell activity in the tissues around the area. A study done by the National Institutes of Health showed that radiation emitted after 50 minutes of cell phone use increased brain activity. The effects of this activity are still unknown, and it is not proven to cause any DNA damage in cells. Research also shows that children and young adults are more at risk to the adverse effects of radiation, as their skulls are thinner and their cells divide at a faster rate.
Some scientists are still skeptical about the legitimacy of these studies. There is research that may support the theory that cell phones are carcinogenic hazards, but it is not consistent enough to be accepted as a scientific fact.

While further research is pending, mobile phone users should take preventive measures. Many cell phone manufacturers are now including safety guidelines in their manuals. The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual recommends keeping the phone 15 millimeters away from the body for voice calls or wireless data transmission, and BlackBerry Bold users are advised to keep the BlackBerry device at least 25 millimeters from the body when the device is transmitting. Another way to prevent any possible health defects is to refrain from talking on the phone for extended periods of time or using text messages as an alternative to phone calls when possible.