2016 update on health risks associated with mobile/cellular phones
A summary of the latest findings on the possible health risks associated with prolonged mobile/cellular phone use.
Last month, the results of a multi-year, peer-reviewed study conducted on rats found a link between mobile/cellular phones and cancer. The study, which was conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the United States found
… ‘low incidences’ of two types of tumors in male rats that were exposed to the type of radio frequencies that are commonly emitted by cellphones. The tumors were gliomas, which are in the glial cells of the brain, and schwannomas of the heart.
(Source: Wall Street Journal)
In our last discussion on the possible health risks associated with mobile/cellular phone use, we noted that the study results released as late as 2015 provided no conclusive evidence of a link between the radiation from mobile/cellular phones and cancer. However, this NTP study, which reportedly is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, is justifying the need for concern.
It is emphasised that the NTP study was conducted on rats, and the incidence of tumours were reportedly found primarily in male rats. Having said this, and as noted in the Wall Street Journal article, all of the biological effects observed in animals may not necessarily occur in humans. However, the report of partial findings released by the NTP stated:
Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health,
(Source: National Toxicology Program)
At this juncture, the NTP findings have refueled the longstanding debate on possible health effects caused by prolonged mobile/cellular phone use, and justifies the need for continued study. While a truly conclusive and widely accepted position might still be years away, as suggested in our previous articles, it may be prudent to err on the side of caution and reduce the level of exposure to the radiation emitted by mobile/cellular phones. Below are a few suggested practices:
- Keeping conversations on mobile/cellular phones short.
- Do not carry the phone on your person.
- Use accessories or features that allow hands-free use.
- Limit phone use by children, as they are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.
- Turn off the phone when not needed.
- Choose a device with a low Specific Absorption Rate (which measures the amount of radio frequency radiation absorbed by body tissues).
- Only use your phone when the reception is strong. When signal strength is weak, more radiation is emitted to establish and maintain the connection.
image credit: Mad House Photography (flickr)