Cellular (Cell) Phones
Cellular ( cell or mobile ) phones first became widely available in the United States in the 1990s. Since then, along with the big and hush growing total of cellular telephone call users ( both adults and children ), the come of time people spend on their phones has besides risen sharply .
Cell phones give off a form of department of energy known as radiofrequency ( RF ) waves, so the condom of cell call use has raised some concerns. The main concerns have focused on whether cell phones might increase the risk of mind tumors or other tumors in the head and neck area, as these areas are closest to where the telephone is normally held while talking or listening on a call.
Reading: Cellular (Cell) Phones
How do cell phones work?
Cell phones send signals to ( and receive them from ) nearby cellular telephone towers ( floor stations ) using RF waves. This is a form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum that falls between FM radio receiver waves and microwaves. Like FM radio receiver waves, microwaves, visible lighter, and heat, RF waves are a class of non-ionizing radiation. They don ’ t have enough energy to cause cancer by directly damaging the deoxyribonucleic acid ( genes ) inside cells. RF waves are different from stronger ( ionizing ) types of radiation such as x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet ( UV ) rays. Ionizing radiation can break the chemical bonds in DNA, which might lead to cancer .
The electromagnetic spectrum illustration shows the possible frequencies of electromagnetic energy, ranging from extremely low frequencies ( such as those from baron lines ) to exposures from extremely high frequencies ( x-rays and gamma rays ), and includes both non-ionizing and ionize radiation .
image credit : National Cancer Institute
At identical high levels, RF waves can heat up body tissues. But the levels of energy given off by cell phones are much lower, and are not enough to raise temperatures in the consistency .
How are people exposed?
The RF waves come from the cell phone’s antenna, which is contribution of the body of a hand-held phone. The waves are strongest at the antenna and lose energy promptly as they travel away from the phone. The earphone is often held against the head when a person is on a call. The closer the antenna is to a exploiter ‘s steer, the greater their expected vulnerability to RF waves. The body tissues closest to the earphone absorb more energy from RF waves than tissues farther away .
many factors can affect the sum of energy from RF waves that a person is exposed to, including :
- The amount of time the person is on the phone.
- Whether the person is holding the phone close to the head, or is instead using the speaker mode or a hands-free device. The farther away from a person’s body the phone is, the less they are exposed.
- The distance and path to the nearest cell phone tower. Cell phones adjust their power to use the minimum amount for a good signal. Being farther away from the tower requires more energy to get a good signal, as does being inside a building.
- The amount of cell phone traffic in the area at the time. Higher traffic (from many people using cell phones) may require more energy to get a good signal.
- The model of phone being used. Different phones give off different amounts of energy.
Cell phone specific absorption rate (SAR)
The specific assimilation rate ( SAR ) is the sum of RF energy from the earphone absorbed by the drug user ’ randomness body. Different cell phones have different SAR levels. Cell telephone makers are required to report the maximum SAR level of their product to the US Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ). This information can often be found on the manufacturer ’ s web site or in the user manual for the call. The upper limit of SAR allowed in the United States according to FCC safety guidelines is 1.6 watt per kilogram ( W/kg ) of body burden .
But according to the FCC, comparing SAR values between phones can be misleading. The listed SAR value is based alone on the earphone operate at its highest world power, not on what users would typically be exposed to with normal phone use. The actual SAR during use varies based on a number of factors, so it ’ s possible that a call with a lower listed SAR respect might sometimes expose a person to more energy from RF waves than one with a higher listed SAR measure .
Do cell phones cause tumors?
Because cell phones normally are held near the oral sex when a person is on a call, the main concern has been whether the phones might cause or contribute to tumors in this area, including :
- Malignant (cancerous) brain tumors, such as gliomas
- Non-cancerous tumors of the brain, such as meningiomas
- Non-cancerous tumors of the nerve connecting the brain to the ear (vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas)
- Tumors of the salivary glands
A few studies have besides looked at possible links to other types of cancer .
What do studies show?
Researchers use 2 main types of studies to try to determine if something might cause cancer :
- Studies done in the lab (using lab animals or cell cultures)
- Studies looking at groups of people
In most cases neither type of report provides enough evidence on its own to show if something causes cancer in people, so researchers normally look at both lab-based and human studies .
The be is a brief compendious of some of the major studies that have looked at this topic to date. however, this is not a comprehensive review of all studies that have been done .
Lab studies of RF waves
As noted above, the RF waves given off by cell phones don ’ t have enough energy to damage DNA directly or to heat body tissues. Because of this, it ’ s not clear how cell phones might be able to cause cancer. Some studies have found potential increase rates of certain types of tumors in lab animals exposed to RF radiation sickness, but overall, the results of these types of studies have not provided clear answers so far .
large studies published in 2018 by the US National Toxicology Program ( NTP ) and by the Ramazzini Institute in Italy exposed groups of lab rats ( american samoa well as mice, in the font of the NTP analyze ) to RF waves over their stallion bodies for many hours a day, starting before parturition and continuing for most or all of their natural lives. Both studies found an increased risk of rare heart tumors called malignant schwannomas in male rats, but not in female rats ( nor in male or female mouse, in the NTP study ). The NTP study besides reported potential increase risks of certain types of tumors in the mind and in the adrenal glands .
While both of these studies had strengths, they besides had limitations that make it hard to know how they might apply to humans being exposed to RF waves from cellular telephone phones. A 2019 review of these two studies by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection ( ICNIRP ) determined that the limitations of the studies didn ’ thyroxine admit conclusions to be drawn regarding the ability of RF energy to cause cancer .
calm, the results of these studies do not rule out the possibility that RF waves from cellular telephone phones might somehow affect homo health .
Studies in people
respective twelve studies have looked at possible links between cell phone use and tumors. Most of these studies have focused on mind tumors. many of these have been case-control studies, in which patients with genius tumors ( cases ) were compared to people who did n’t have brain tumors ( controls ), in terms of their past cellular telephone earphone use .
These studies have had mixed results. Some studies have found a possible connect between cell earphone use and brain tumors, while others have not. For exercise, several studies published by the same research group in Sweden have reported an increased risk of genius tumors in people using cell phones. however, there was no apparent overall addition in brain tumors in Sweden during the years that correspond to these reports .
Three large studies deserve limited mention :
The INTERPHONE study
The 13-country INTERPHONE discipline, the largest case-control report done to date, looked at cell telephone use among more than 5,000 people who developed genius tumors ( glioma or meningioma ) and a exchangeable group of people without tumors. Overall, the sketch found no link between brain tumor risk and the frequency of calls, longer call time, or cell call practice for 10 or more years. There was a hypnotism of a possible increased gamble of glioma, and a smaller suggestion of an increased gamble of meningioma, in the 10 % of people who used their cell phones the most. But this find was hard to interpret because some people in the learn reported incredibly high cell call habit. The researchers noted that the shortcomings of the study prevented them from drawing any firm conclusions, and that more inquiry was needed .
Another depart of the INTERPHONE study compared more than 1,000 people with acoustic neuromas to more than 2,000 people without tumors, who served as match controls. As with glioma and meningioma, there was no overall link between cellular telephone call use and acoustic neuroma. There was again a trace of a possible increased hazard in the 10 % of people who used their cell phones the most, but this rule was hard to interpret because some people reported incredibly high cell phone use .
The Danish cohort study
A big, long-run study has been comparing all of the people in Denmark who had a cell earphone subscription between 1982 and 1995 ( about 400,000 people ) to those without a subscription to look for a potential addition in mind tumors. The most holocene update of the study followed people through 2007. Cell earphone use, even for more than 13 years, was not linked with an increased risk of brain tumors, salivary gland tumors, or cancer overall, nor was there a link with any brain tumor subtypes or with tumors in any localization within the brain .
This type of sketch ( following a bombastic group of people going forward in time and not relying on people ’ south memories about cellular telephone earphone use ) is broadly thought to provide stronger evidence than a case-control study.
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But this study besides has some drawbacks. First, it is based only on whether or not people had a cell telephone subscription at the time. It didn ’ metric ton measure how much these people used their phones ( if at all ), or if people who didn ’ t have a subscription used person else ’ randomness earphone. There are besides limits as to how well this study might apply to people using cell phones today. For model, while the cell phones used at the fourth dimension of the study tended to emit higher levels of RF waves than modern cell phones do, people besides credibly used their phones quite a moment less than people use their phones nowadays .
The Million Women Study
A big prospective ( advanced ) report of closely 800,000 women in the UK examined the risk of developing brain tumors over an average of about 14 years in relation to self-reported cell earphone consumption. This study found no link between cellular telephone earphone use and the risk of brain tumors overall or of respective common brain tumor subtypes. But again, there are limits as to how well this study might apply to people using cell phones nowadays. For example, when the women in this study were first asked about their cell earphone function back in 2001, fewer than 1 in 5 users reported talking on a cell earphone for 30 minutes or more each week .
All studies done so far have limitations
In summary, studies of people published so army for the liberation of rwanda have not established a clear link between cell earphone use and the development of tumors. however, these studies have had some important limitations that make them improbable to end the controversy about whether cell earphone use affects cancer risk .
first, studies have not so far been able to follow people for very farseeing periods of time. After a sleep together cancer-causing exposure, it frequently takes decades for tumors to develop. Because cell phones have been widely used for only about 20 years in most countries, it is not potential to rule out possible future health effects .
second, cell call use is constantly changing. People are using their cell phones much more than they were even 10 years ago, and the phones themselves are very different from what was used in the past. This makes it heavily to know if the results of studies looking at cell phone use in years past still apply today .
Third, most of the studies published so far have focused on adults, quite than children. ( One case-control analyze looking at children and teens did not find a significant link to brain tumors, but the little size of the study limited its might to detect minor risks. ) Cell phone use is now widespread even among younger children. It is possible that if there are health effects, they might be more pronounce in children because their bodies might be more sensible to RF department of energy. Another concern is that children ’ second life exposure to RF waves from cell phones will be greater than adults ’, who started using cell phones when they were older .
last, the measurement of cellular telephone phone use in most studies has been crude. Most have been case-control studies, which have relied on people ’ second memories about their by cell telephone use. In these types of studies, it can be unvoiced to interpret any possible yoke between cancer and an exposure. People with cancer are often thinking about possible reasons for it, so they may sometimes recall their call custom differently from people without cancer .
With these limitations in thinker, it is crucial to continue to study the possible hazard of cell earphone exposure, particularly with respect to use by children and longer-term manipulation .
What do expert agencies say?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) does not have any official position or statement on whether or not radiofrequency (RF) radiation from cell phones, cell phone towers, or other sources is a cause of cancer. ACS generally looks to other technical organizations to determine if something causes cancer ( that is, if it is a carcinogen ), including :
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO)
- The US National Toxicology Program (NTP), which is formed from parts of several different government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
early major organizations besides sometimes comment on the ability of certain exposures ( such as cell telephone use ) to cause cancer .
Based on a review of studies published up until 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF radiation as “ possibly carcinogenic to humans, ” based on limited testify of a possible increase in risk for brain tumors among cellular telephone phone users, and inadequate evidence for early types of cancer. ( For more information on the IARC classification organization, see Known and Probable Human Carcinogens. )
More recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a technical foul report based on studies published between 2008 and 2018, a well as national trends in cancer rates. The report concluded : “ Based on the studies that are described in detail in this report, there is insufficient evidence to support a causal association between radiofrequency radiation ( RFR ) exposure and [ tumor formation ]. ”
indeed far, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not included RF radiation in its Report on Carcinogens, which lists exposures that are known to be or sanely anticipated to be human carcinogens. ( For more on this reputation, see Known and Probable Human Carcinogens. )
According to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) :
“ [ C ] urrently no scientific tell establishes a causal connect between wireless device use and cancer or early illnesses. Those evaluating the likely risks of using wireless devices agree that more and longer-term studies should explore whether there is a better footing for RF base hit standards than is presently used. ”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) :
“ At this clock we do not have the skill to link health problems to cell telephone function. Scientific studies are afoot to determine whether cellular telephone call use may cause health effects. ”
How can I lower my exposure to RF waves from cell phones?
It is not clear at this time that RF waves from cell phones cause harmful health effects in people, but studies now being done should give a clearer photograph of the potential health effects in the future. Until more is known, there are respective things that people who are concerned about RF waves can do to limit their exposure .
Use the speaker mode or video chat feature on the phone, or a hands-free device such as a corded or cordless earpiece. This moves the antenna away from your head, which decreases the amount of RF waves that reach the read/write head. corded earpieces emit virtually no RF waves ( although the earphone itself placid emits humble amounts of RF waves that can reach parts of the body if close enough, such as on the shank or in a pocket ). Bluetooth® earpieces typically convey RF waves at much lower power levels than cell phones themselves ( see below ) .
Texting instead of talking on the phone may be another way to reduce your exposure. But it may not be a good option in some situations, specially if you are driving. For guard reasons, it is particularly significant to limit or avoid the practice of cell phones ( specially texting ) while driving .
Limit your (and your children’s) cell phone use. This is one of the most obvious ways to limit your exposure to RF waves from cell phones. For exercise, you may want to limit the sum of time you spend talking on the phone ( at least with your phone up to your ear ). Parents who are concerned about their children ’ s exposure can limit how much time they spend talking on the earphone .
Consider choosing a phone with a low SAR value. Different models of phones can give off different levels of RF waves. But as noted above, according to the FCC the SAR value is not always a commodity indicator of a person ’ s photograph to RF waves during convention cell phone consumption. One way to get information on the SAR flush for a particular telephone model is to visit the call manufacturer ’ s web site. The FCC has links to some of these sites. If you know the FCC identification ( ID ) number for your earphone exemplar ( which can often be found somewhere on the phone or in the exploiter manual ), you can besides go to the follow vane address : www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid. On this page, you will see instructions for entering the FCC ID number .
Are phones on 5G networks any different?
Fifth genesis ( 5G ) cellular networks are now being rolled out in many parts of the United States and in early countries. 5G networks are adequate to of transmitting a lot larger amounts of data over shorter periods of time than previous generations ( 4G, 3G, etc. ) .
5G networks ( and the phones that use them ) operate on some higher frequency ( higher energy ) RF wavelengths than older generation networks ( although newer phones can typically still use the older networks as well ). But the newer 5G signals even use RF waves, so they are hush forms of non-ionizing radiation, which is not thought to have the ability to directly damage DNA .
The studies that have been done so far to look at possible links between cell earphone manipulation and cancer have focused on older generation ( chiefly 2G and 3G ) signals. At this clock, there has been very little research showing that the RF waves used in 5G networks are any more ( or less ) of a concern than the other RF wavelengths used in cellular communication. For more on 5G networks, see Cell Phone Towers.
What about cordless phones?
Cordless phones, normally used in homes, have base units that are plugged into telephone jacks and wired to a local call service. They are not considered cell phones. Cordless call operate on at about 1/600 the power of cell phones, so they are a lot less likely to be a concern in terms of health effects .
What about Bluetooth® devices (including earbuds)?
many radio devices now communicate over shorter distances using Bluetooth engineering. For case, many phones now have the option of using radio ( Bluetooth ) earbuds. Phones can besides connect to other devices ( tablets, laptops, cable car dashboard computers, etc. ) using Bluetooth .
Bluetooth devices use RF waves in a like wavelength scope as those used for cell phones. But because the signals only need to travel a inadequate distance ( such as from the earphone to a person ’ randomness ears ), they can operate at much lower power levels than those used by phones, which in theory might make them less of a health refer. But as with other devices that give off RF waves, possible health effects from these devices can not be ruled out completely at this time .