Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
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Science and Technology

Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Wait, what?


  • All cell phones give off electromagnetic energy called radiofrequency (RF) radiation.1

  • Several studies on long-term exposure to RF suggest a link to brain cancer, tumors of the acoustic nerve and salivary glands, lower sperm count, headaches and effects on learning, memory, hearing, behavior, and sleep.3 16

  • RF is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).2

  • In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RF as a possible carcinogen.18 Coffee was once listed as a possible carcinogen. 

  • March 2018, the National Toxicology Program reported that “little is known about potential health effects of long-term exposure to cell phone radiofrequency radiation.”6


Is the majority of the country at risk of developing health complications? Or should we not be worried?

2628477e 9e35 421d 9791 113cd633808e 2Pew Research Center

The majority of Americans own a cellphone.


We're not rats

RF from cell phones is not powerful enough to cause cancer9, “unless you’re a male rat bathing in cellphone radiation.”10



Safe enough

The following public statements have been made by scientific organizations and individual experts: 

  • National Cancer Institute (2016): "Radiofrequency energy... does not cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer."
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2014): "According to current data, the FDA believes that the weight of scientific evidence does not show an association between exposure to radiofrequency from cell phones and adverse health outcomes". 
  • World Health Organization (2014): "To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."

Reduced risk

A 2006 study found a “reduced brain tumor risk” among long-term users of cell phones.11


Tumors and cancer

A handful of studies found a pattern of cell phone use and increased risk of brain tumors.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found male rats exposed to RF developed cancer.4

  • International Journal of Oncology (2008): “consistent pattern” of cell phone use and increased risk of developing glioma12
  • Surgical Neurology (2009): long-term cell phone use (10+ years) “doubles the risk” of being diagnosed with glioma13

DNA damage

2012 study in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology found "RF may damage DNA and change gene expression in brain cells" of mice.14



Age is a factor

Children may have an increased risk of negative health effects from cell phone radiation.15 


A 2008 study found that children under 8-years old absorb twice the amount of radiation into their brain as adults, due to lower skull thickness.16


  • Dec. 2017, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines, "How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones".

  • May 2015, a group of 190 scientists from 39 countries urged the U.N., World Health Organization, and others to create stricter safety controls over cell phones.17

  • The FCC, U.S. Government Accountability Office, and FDA agree there is no conclusive scientific evidence proving cell phone use causes cancer or other health issues.


  • There are more questions than answers.18

  • Learn more about how dirty your cell phone is.

Determining a link between RF and cancer is an “ongoing evaluation”...7

-Jeffrey Shuren, director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

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