Are Cell Phones A Cause of Brain Cancer?


On Tuesday, 26 August 2009, a detailed report written by a collaboration of international electromagnetic radiation (EMR) watchdogs, such as the EMR Policy Institute and Powerwatch, was given to various government officials as well as the media. Their report pointed out various design flaws that they discovered during a telecom-funded Interphone study.

The report was entitled: “Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone.”

Since its public release on Tuesday, many people, obviously cellphone users themselves, have become increasingly concerned over the legitimacy of the report. Some concerns have even been raised regarding whether such report was indeed written in satire by telecom conspiracy theorists.

However, it seems that the most important aspects that were covered by the report are the following:

* A “significant” risk of the occurrence of brain tumors actually does exist from the use of a cell phone;

* Exposure limits to electromagnetic radiation that were set by the US government and were then supported by the telecom industry, were actually based on the misleading piece of information that stated that electromagnetic radiation has biological effect other than for heating;

In addition, the report also listed defects in the design of the Interphone study as being the following:

* An unrealistic definition of what truly defines a regular cell phone user;

* Children and young adults were not included in the study;

* Participant selection bias,

* Not enough time was taken into account when considering a tumor diagnosis. In other words, tumors usually take a while to grow before they can be correctly identified and diagnosed. The original study diagnosed the lack of the brain tumors too quickly without allowing enough time to have passed;

* Many different varieties of brain tumors were excluded from the study;

* People who had died because of a brain tumor, or who were too sick to be interviewed because they already had a brain tumor, were excluded from the original study.

Retired electronics engineer and member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, L. Lloyd Morgan, was the main contributing author of this recent study. It is, however, interesting to note, that he had received the support of scientific endorsers from 14 different countries around the world when he announced that the ongoing use of cell phones can lead to a decrease in a person’s overall health, not just brain tumors:

“Exposure to cell phone radiation is the largest human health experiment ever undertaken, without informed consent, and has some four billion participants enrolled. Science has shown increased risk of brain tumors from use of cell phones, as well as increased risk of eye cancer, salivary gland tumors, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia. The public must be informed.”

However, The World Health Organization countered back with their own nonchalant statement regarding the health risks of cell phone use:

“None of the recent reviews have concluded that exposure to the RF fields from mobile phones or their base stations causes any adverse health consequence.”

Morgan’s emphasizes that this statement by the WHO was initially drafted over 9 years ago and was based primarily on the data that he and comrades are now saying are flawed.

This is not the first time such a report has been made public. There have been quite a few other studies that were conducted and are, for the most part at least, referenced in a book entitled “Cancer Biology”. One of these studies involved 195,775 workers who were manufacturing and testing cell phones. The study proved that were was no immediate link between electromagnetic radiation exposure and brain tumors, or any other type of nervous system cancers for that matter. However, that book was originally published in 1995 so it is high time that it is updated.

Other concerns have been raised since the release of this new report. Such as the fact that cell phones are used on the 1.8GHz band; and, if the cell phones are deemed to be dangerous on this band, what about the danger of other bands, like the frequency of Wi-Fi, which works at 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Are they dangerous to our health as well? Obviously more research has to be conducted by scientists that do not have strong dependency on the telecommunication industry, in order to avoid any biased outcomes.

If you are concerned, or interested if the case may be, about the level of radiation that your cell phone emits, you can log onto CNET’s cell phone radiation level chart and look up your cell phone model to see its estimated radiation level. For example, at the top of the list are Motorola cell phones and at the bottom are a few Samsung cell phone models.

Photo Credit: Mike “Dakinewavamo n” Kline

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