The world’s 4 billion cell phone users have new reason to examine the widely unquestioned acceptance of cell phone use as innocuous and safe. While some previous studies and reviews of research have found no link between cell phone use and health concerns, an article on MedicineNet reported that, ‘when the spotlight was turned on only the more methodologically rigorous studies, a potentially harmful association was found.’
The article did also note that the study released in the October 13 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology did not reveal an overall link between cell phone use and brain cancer. However, many trusted and respected studies reviewed in the current research have shown associations between instances of brain tumors and cell phone use.
The director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of Berkeley, Joel Moskowitz, also served as the study’s senior author. He told MedicineNet that, ‘clearly there is risk.’ Moskowitz recommended that children either be required to use a headset when using cell phones, or not be allowed to use the phones at all. He admonished, ‘It seems fairly derelict of us as a society or as a planet to just disseminate this technology to the extent that we have without doing a whole lot more research of the potential harms and how to protect against those harms. Clearly, we need to learn a whole lot more about this technology.’
Industry representative John Walls of CTIA-The Wireless Association pointed out that the American Cancer Society, the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration, and the National Cancer Institute do not recognize any risk or danger associated with the use of cell phones.
The current study was composed of data gathered by searching medical databases and compiling the results of 23 studies involving over 37,000 participants. The entire group of studies taken as a whole did not show any statistical risk of increased cancer danger, but a set of more rigorous studies, conducted mainly by a group of Swedish scientists, showed an 18% increased risk of brain tumors in cell phone users who had been using their phones for 10 years or more.
Not surprisingly, a set of industry-consortium-funded studies, when analyzed separately, showed that cell phones had a protective effect on the brain. While the current study as a whole did not reveal massive and imminent danger, the scientists involved encouraged serious caution and the use of hands-free devices while more studies are conducted. Moskowitz also mentioned the possibility of danger to the genitals from keeping cell phones in pockets.
Since such a huge portion of the human population on the planet use cell phones, the scientists and researchers involved in producing the current research are pushing for more rigorous and comprehensive research on the long-term health effects of cell phone usage before making any conclusions about the safety of the technology. Buyer beware.