The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation

Did you go over you minutes last month? Sure, those cell phone bills may be draining your wallet, but they are nothing when compared to the chemotherapy bills you’ll be paying down the road.

Every year, more and more conflicting research comes out on the health hazards of cell phones, linking and unlinking cell phone radiation to brain tumors. The result: widespread consumer confusion.

The truth is cell phone radiation levels are comparable to those emitted by microwaves, which some scientist deem safe, but, to put it in perspective, one of these products sits on our countertops and the other we put on our faces – for extended periods of time.

A recent article in Newsweek not only described the health hazards of cell phones, but also revealed the varying levels of radiation they produce when used in urban and rural areas.

“Experts say the concern over cell-phone use stems from a form of radiation that’s produced when the devices communicate with their base station. Wireless phones transmit via radio frequency (RF), a low-frequency form of radiation that is also used in microwave ovens and AM/FM radios. While high-frequency radiation (the kind used in X-rays) is known to cause cancer at high doses, the risks of this milder form remain unclear. A cell phone’s main source of RF is its antenna, from which it sends a signal to the nearest base-station antenna. The further a cell phone is from the base station, the more RF it needs to establish and maintain a connection. So, the theory is that any risks posed by RF would be greater for people who live and work in areas with fewer base stations. In fact, Israeli researchers reported earlier this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology that long-term cell-phone users living in rural areas faced a “consistently elevated risk” of developing tumors in the parotid gland (a salivary gland located just below the ear) compared with users who live in suburban or urban areas.”

In response to such research, the French Health Ministry issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, on Jan.2, 2008. A recent marketing surge of cell phones specifically designed for children has raised concern since youngsters are particularly vulnerable to their possible health effects, the Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports said in a statement. Some researchers believe younger cell phone users may face a higher risk of developing tumors because their nervous systems are not fully developed and their skulls are not as thick as those of adults.

[image courtesy of]

In a Reuters article on the Ministry’s warning, Brian Rohan explains the flaws of short-term research on the link between cell phone radiation and cancer:

“A November 2006 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said available evidence suggests long-term exposure to radio-frequency and microwave radiation from mobile phones had no adverse health effects. However, the WHO said other studies pointed to an increased risk of tumors in people who have used an analogue mobile phone for more than 10 years.

A British study released in September 2007 said mobile phones did not pose short-term health risks, but scientists noted that studies to date included few participants who had used mobile phones for longer than ten years — the time many cancers take to appear.”

The main problem with all these studies is that cell phones have been widely available for about a decade, where as tumors can take up to twice as long to develop. Due to the rapid absorption of mobile phone technology, the majority of our nation is now carelessly handling these products without any conclusive evidence telling us they are safe.

[photo courtesy of]

If pregnant women are advised to stay away from microwaves, shouldn’t that tell you something about their effects on our health? If cell phones are not safe for children, why would they be safe for adults? Until the government puts some tougher standards on cell phone radiation, the best thing to do is be smart: use hands-free devices (not the wireless kind), keep cell phones away from your body as often as possible and always keep them away from children (what do they need them for, anyway?).

Also, the Federal Communications Commission requires manufacturers to report the relative amount of radio frequency absorbed into the head by any given cell phone. This number is known as the SAR, or specific absorption rate, you can find out how to check your phone’s SAR on this site.

If you still think cell phones are 100 percent safe, just think back to the downfall of cigarettes – only a few decades separate us from a time when Phillip Morris used to put out “scientific research” stating that tobacco and nicotine did not pose any serious health problems. Fast-Forward to 2008 and the profiteering liars are now Motorola, Samsung and LG – pridefully sponsoring your local newscasts, not only during commercial breaks, but also in their content.


Filed under Health

6 responses to “The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation

  1. Sami

    The article could have been better if had you stayed on topic and not tried to condemn the manufacturers without any supporting evidence.

    You do not provide any proof that Motorola, Samsung and LG are “profiteering liars.” You only mention that the “government” (which one? there are many. Do other countries aside from the U.S.A have tougher standards?) has not been doing enough to regulate the radiation coming from cell phones. You mention no evidence that the toughest standards are not in effect, nor do you state if it is even technically possible to further reduce cell phone radiation.

    Also, the use of cell phones has allowed individuals in developing nations and rural areas to communicate at an affordable rate. They have provided us with many more benefits and have on occasion have helped save lives.

    Decent read, but you are not going to win over any indepently-minded readers without anything backing up your claims.

  2. Ralaya

    Mr. Sami,

    I believe it is YOU who are not on topic. Mr. Cupolo’s main point here is that there are hidden dangers behind cell phone usage and this very likely important information isn’t reported so publicly, just as any company would refrain from handing out information that would affect sales. In his last paragraph, he is trying to make a parallel to the past where cigarette companies denied any negative information and is therefore trying to teach the public to learn from the past and not to embrace whatever comes our way just because we like it or because it is convenient.
    Once again, his main point is not attacking individual cell phone companies, but opening our eyes to the potential dangers that are hidden from us. Is it so wrong for a man to care about the human race?
    Congratulations on poor reading comprehension,

  3. Sami

    Ms. Ralaya,

    No need to use caps, we can keep this civil. I was not addressing the main point of the article. I was simply addressing the last 3 paragraphs of the article when the author veered off his main point and did attack individual cell phone companies.

    “Fast-Forward to 2008 and the profiteering liars are now Motorola, Samsung and LG”

    I believe that quote constitutes an attack.

    I find nothing wrong with his article or the attempt to increase awareness. What I do find wrong are attacks that are not supported by evidence. The writer spent plenty of time researching studies on the health hazards of cell phone radiation. What I did not see was one piece of evidence supporting his claims that the government and the companies are at fault.

    Where is the evidence that they are lying? Where is the evidence that the government isn’t doing enough? Where are the statements from reputable sources (i.e. scientists) supporting his claims?

    Not everyone automatically believes that corporations and the government are constantly screwing us for profit. Some people require proof. I do agree that some important information isn’t “reported so publicly,” but it is the journalist’s job to go out and find that information for us the reader.

  4. Brad

    People used to use x-ray machines in the 1920s to see if their shoes fit, and it took many years to realize that was a very dangerous bad idea… I wonder if 50 years from now people will look back and think how stupid we were for strapping radiation machines to our skulls.

  5. Nathalie

    I have recently been treated for a saliva gland cancer (2007). It just so happens that I use a cell phone a lot AND place the phone on that side of my head most of the time ! My doctors never inquired about my cell phone use. I will bring it up and my next follow-up. I work in sales and I have been using cell phone/wirless technology for over 10 years.

  6. Ger

    Hi to all of the writers and readers. In the Republic of Ireland,(where we have the highest mobile phone (cellphone) usage per capita in western Europe), the dangers of over use are becoming aparent but still largely ignored by the majority of people. The term ‘luddite’ is used if you dare criticise their usage, especially among children.
    In our country when legislation for the licencing of mobile phone companies was going through our parliament (at surprising speed-without broad debate), the government allowed the provision of mobile phone masts or antennae on the actual site of every police station in the state, despite the fact that they are there on behalf of ‘private’ companies.Nobody blinked an eye.

    The use of mobile phones I think, must be one of the biggest revenue providers for the state coffers since cigarrettes , (which have obviously declined in proft-making ability because of our brilliant smoking ban in work places and bars etc.)
    this is no doubt less likely to be criticised in our current economic climate of job losses etc.
    We owe it to our children’s future to do what we can in a small way, if we are even remotely concerned about their health.
    Electromagnetic energy in high doses is known to cause people to develop conditions and illnesses that they may be genetically pre-disposed to.This is not some airy notion but has a scientific basis. I am not a scientist but neither am fooled by the reports and statistics that companies that exist to make profit will bring out to cloud this most serious issue which the too many of us seem to ignore.
    At our peril we will continue to tolerate this systemic pollution.

    Best wishes to all,

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