Cell phone radiation now considered carcinogenic: image credit: iStockphoto via sciencedaily.comCell phones are hazardous to our health. This time the proclamation comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) which, despite prefacing its announcement with 'no adverse health effects have been established,' today announced that it was placing mobile phones on its list of 'carcinogenic hazards.'
Other carcinogens on WHO's hazardous list include lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform. These substances are well-studied and well-documented hazards. Cell phone radiation is non-iodizing, like that coming from a microwave oven, not like the ionizing radiation coming from an X-ray or, to go to the extreme, like a nuclear reactor.
But 31 WHO scientists from 14 countries made their recommendation after considering the results of peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. They said they found enough evidence to warn that cell phone use is "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
Is this hype? No, afraid not. Apparently, the longer term studies, those that look solely at cell phone use over a 10-year period or longer, show far greater risk to the brain than the studies concentrating on short term users. Perhaps that's why Apple and Blackberry, for example, have issued warnings to their iPhone 4 and Blackberry Bold users to hold the cell phones away from their heads when using them.
CNN interviewed Dr. Keith Black, neurologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Black likened the long term use of cell phones to putting food in a microwave oven.
"What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms," Black said, "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."
In addition, Dr. Black warned that "Childrens' skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate
deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are dividing
faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger."