Can radiation from your phone really give you cancer? We take a look at the science to see if there’s any truth to this claim.
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The science of cell phone radiation and cancer
Over the past few years, there has been growing concern about the possible health effects of cell phone radiation. Some studies have found an increased risk of brain cancer and other health problems in people who use cell phones regularly. However, other studies have not found an increased risk.
So far, the scientific evidence does not support the idea that cell phone radiation causes cancer. However, some experts argue that more research is needed to rule out this possibility completely. And because cell phone use is so common, even a small increase in the risk of cancer could have major public health implications.
Cell phone radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). EMR is a type of energy that is emitted by electronic devices, such as cell phones, televisions, and computers. EMR can also come from natural sources, such as the sun.
EMR waves are divided into two main categories: ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to remove electrons from atoms, which can cause damage to DNA. This damage can lead to cancer. Non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms.
Cell phone radiation belongs to the non-ionizing category. This means that it does not have enough energy to damage DNA and cause cancer. However, some scientists believe that there may be other ways that cell phone radiation could affect the body and lead to health problems, such as brain tumors or other cancers. More research is needed to understand these possible risks
How cell phone radiation is measured
Radiation from cell phones is measured in two ways: the specific absorption rate (SAR) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit. The SAR measures the amount of radiofrequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using a cell phone. The FCC limit is the maximum amount of RF energy that a person can be exposed to without adverse health effects.
The SAR for cell phones is measured in units of Watts per kilogram (W/kg). For example, if the SAR for a particular cell phone is 1.2 W/kg, that means that using that phone would expose you to 1.2 Watts of RF energy for every kilogram of your body weight. The FCC limit for public exposure to RF energy from cell phones is 1.6 W/kg. So, if a cell phone has a SAR of 1.6 W/kg or less, it is within the FCC’s limit for public exposure to RF energy from cell phones.
Cell phone manufacturers are required to report the maximum SAR level their phones can produce when used next to your head. This information is available online and in your phone’s user manual. You can also contact your wireless service provider to ask about the maximum SAR level for the phone they provide to their customers
The FCC’s stance on cell phone radiation
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates how much power cell phones are allowed to emit. Currently, the maximum limit for cell phone radiation is set at 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) of tissue. The FCC has not taken a stance on whether or not cell phone radiation can cause cancer, but they have released guidelines on how to limit your exposure to it.
There are two ways to measure the amount of radiation you’re being exposed to from your cell phone: Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and absorption rate (AR). SAR is a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using a cell phone. AR is a measure of the amount of RF energy absorbed by your body when using a cell phone over a certain period of time.
The FCC’s guidelines recommend that you limit your exposure to SAR by keeping your cell phone away from your body when not in use, using hands-free devices when possible, and avoiding making calls in areas with weak signal strength. You can also reduce your exposure to AR by limiting the amount of time you spend using your cell phone, using hands-free devices when possible, and avoiding making calls in areas with weak signal strength.
The WHO’s stance on cell phone radiation
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is “no definitive answer” as to whether or not cell phone radiation can cause cancer. The organization has classified cell phone radiation as a “possible human carcinogen,” which is the same classification it gives to things like lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.
That said, the WHO acknowledges that more research needs to be done on the matter, and it is currently working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to conduct a large-scale study on the matter. In the meantime, the organization advises people to take precautions against excessive exposure to cell phone radiation, such as using hands-free devices and limiting sittings in front of mobile screens.
The possible health effects of cell phone radiation
Cell phones emit radiofrequency radiation (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Tissues nearest to the antenna absorb this energy. The number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. So, too, has the number of people who report health problems related to using these devices.
Research on the possible health effects of exposure to cell phone radiation is ongoing. There is no certain answer at this time. However, some health agencies have concluded that there is enough evidence to limit exposure to cell phone radiation.
One agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has classified radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Another agency, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), has reached a “partial” conclusion, also finding that cell phone radiation may have adverse health effects.
The most recent scientific review by IARC (in May 2016) found that there was “limited evidence” that radiofrequency radiation from cell phones can increase the risk for glioma, a type of brain cancer. The review also noted that studies on rats and mice have shown mixed results when it comes to whether cellphone radiation causes cancer.
The NTP’s partial conclusion was based on two reports it released in 2016 and 2018. The first report found “some evidence” of an increased risk for glioma from cellphone use; the second found “clear evidence” of an increased risk for Schwannoma of the heart from cellphone use.
How to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation
It’s hard to escape the reach of cell phones—approximately 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind. And while these devices have made our lives more convenient in many ways, there is growing concern about the potential health risks posed by cell phone radiation.
So what is cell phone radiation exactly? Cell phones emit two types of electromagnetic radiation: ionizing (high-frequency) and non-ionizing (low-frequency) radiation. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to damage DNA, and has been linked to cancer. Non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to damage DNA, but is still considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation. Here are a few tips:
• Use hands-free devices: Using a hands-free device can help keep the phone away from your head, which reduces your exposure to radiation.
• Limit your time on the phone: Try to limit your conversation time, and avoid using your phone when the signal is weak, as this can cause the phone to emit more radiation.
• Avoid using your phone when it’s not necessary: If you don’t need to use your phone, don’t! Just turning it off can help reduce your exposure.
• Keep your distance: The further away you are from your phone, the lower your exposure will be. So try not to carry it in your pocket or hold it up to your head for long periods of time.
The Bottom Line: Is there a risk?
At this time, the data is not definitive. There is no “smoking gun” that proves that cell phone radiation causes cancer. However, there are a few studies that have shown a possible link between cell phone radiation and certain types of cancer. In particular, brain tumors (gliomas) and acoustic neuromas (tumors of the nerve that runs from the ear to the brain) have been observed in some people who have used cell phones for long periods of time.
FAQ’s about cell phone radiation and cancer
FAQ’s about cell phone radiation and cancer
Can the radiation from my phone give me cancer?
There is no certain answer to this question. Some studies have found a possible link between cell phone radiation and cancer, but more research is needed to confirm these findings. The amount of radiation that a person is exposed to from a cell phone depends on many factors, including the type of phone, the amount of time spent on the phone, and the user’s distance from a cell tower.
Are children more at risk for developing cancer from cell phone radiation than adults?
Children may be more at risk for developing cancer from cell phone radiation than adults because their bodies are still growing and their brains are less able to absorb and handle the high levels of radiation that phones emit.
Are there any other health risks associated with using cell phones?
Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy (RF), which has been shown to cause changes in brain activity. It is not known if these changes are harmful, but some scientists believe that long-term exposure to RF energy could increase the risk of brain cancer. Additionally, cell phones can also emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Exposure to EMFs has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, although more research is needed before a causal link can be established.
Glossary of terms
-Cancer: a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.
-Cell phone: a portable telephone that uses radio waves to send and receive signals from a base station, typically using the frequencies around 850 megahertz and 1800 or 1900 MHz.
-Electromagnetic field (EMF): a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field.
-Ionizing radiation: radiation with enough energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules, thereby creating ions.
-Non-ionizing radiation: radiation with insufficient energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules.