WHAT IT IS
All cell phones give off electromagnetic energy called radio-frequency (RF) radiation. [FDA]
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. [Time], [Consumer Reports]
RF is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). [American Cancer Society]
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RF as a possible carcinogen. [FDA]
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 radio-frequency radiation.” [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]
WHY IT MATTERS
We're not rats...
RF from cell phones is not powerful enough to cause cancer, “unless you’re a male rat bathing in cellphone radiation." [The Verge]
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."
A 2006 study found a “reduced brain tumor risk” among long-term users of cell phones. [Journal of the National Cancer Institute]
WE'RE AT RISK!
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. [Tech Crunch]
- International Journal of Oncology (2008): “consistent pattern” of cell phone use and increased risk of developing glioma. [National Institute of Health]
- Surgical Neurology (2009): long-term cell phone use (10+ years) “doubles the risk” of being diagnosed with glioma. [National Institute of Health]
2012 study in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology found "RF may damage DNA and change gene expression in brain cells" of mice. [National Institute of Health]
Age is a factor
Children may have an increased risk of negative health effects from cell phone radiation. [WebMD]
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. [Consumer Reports]
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Dec. 2017: the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines, "How to Reduce Exposure to Radio-frequency 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. [World Health Organization]
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.