Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
There’s much talk about cellphones and a rare form of cancer, a brain tumor named glioma. This cellphone and cancer concern has been recently prompted by the World Health Organization putting cellphones on a “possibly carcinogenic” list. Is there cause for concern? Let’s think about this rationally.
A panel of highly respected scientists and physicians headed by Dr. Jonathan Samet of USC (also on President Obama’s cancer research team), analyzed many recent studies of links between brain cancer and cellphone use. They looked for correlations between the devices that emit magnetic fields and development of brain cancer, usually due to breaking of DNA chains or affect to chemical balances in humans and animals. But cellphones don’t break DNA or change brain chemicals, because they are “non-ionizing” radiation. Similar to microwave ovens.
This isn’t a new study, it’s just another cumulative look at a lot of existing studies. A large one, called Interphone conducted in 13 countries didn’t find a direct connection between regular cellphone use and brain tumors. This is also true of other studies. What got the World Health Organization concerned was that this study indicated a suspicion of heavy cellphone users having a 40% level of risk. That doesn’t mean that heavy users actually get brain cancer. It just means there’s a risk.
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have issued reports that dismiss concerns about cellphones possibly causing cancer. Many scientists have said publicly that there’s no evidence to prove non-ionizing radiation causes tumors or cancers. But what about other affects from cellphones, other than DNA, chemistry, and radiation? There’s still a lot we don’t know. Cellphones haven’t been in use all that long, and we just don’t know enough, long term.
I think that some wisdom and prudence is required here. Yes, we should take the World Health Organization’s panel seriously. Yes, let’s err on the side of caution. You certainly don’t put your head or body next to your microwave oven (or stove) do you? You don’t sit with a TV or electric motor buzzing on top of your head, do you? You shouldn’t with your cellphone either.
Think about it – there is enough radio frequency radiation to reach from your little cellphone miles away to giant cellphone towers to complete calls. Why expose your bodily tissue to any excess radiation? It’s common sense, friend.
Use a headset or the speaker in the phone, particularly if you use your cellphone a lot. Text more; press the phone to your skull less. Why take a chance? I certainly would not let my kids use cellphones on their ears much if they were still little, and still growing. Happily, talking on cellphones isn’t so cool – kids text far more. So should adults.
Same goes for your laptop and tablet computers. Have a buffer between the buzzing electrons and your body. But that’s another subject for another day.