A study published May 31st by the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (i.e. the waves emitted from cell phones) as a possibly carcinogenic agent to humans. This was based on the increased risk for glioma (the most common primary tumors of the brain), according to evidence. A test study on cell phone use up to 2004 revealed a 40% increase in gliomas in the highest category of heavy phone users, which was 30 minutes of use each day, over a 10 year period.
The debate between cell phone effects on the brain is clearly becoming more defined as more research is evaluated. The resulting classification shows that “A positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer…” Evidence has been difficult to come by in the past because cell phone technology has fairly recent origins, preventing testing long-term effects until now. However, more and more experts are noticing some trends that suggest we can’t wait for hard evidence. According to tumor immunologist Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, “Although the evidence is still controversial, I am convinced that there are sufficient data to warrant issuing an advisory to share some precautionary advice on cell phone use.”
We are all seemingly at risk, as the long-term effects of increased cell phone use come to light. However, the one group that can be most affected are young adults and, especially, children. The following illustration shows the absorption rates of electromagnetic radiation based on age, due to cell phone usage.
According to a Populus survey in the UK (Jan. 09), the average age that children receive a cell phone is nine, and three-quarters of all children aged seven to 15 owned “at least” one phone. In the future, when enough tests have been completed, we will find the true effects of cell phones. Until then, it seems everyone is at risk and should focus on cutting down usage or finding protection from wireless devices.