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WHO Reverses Stance: Cellphones Could Possibly Cause Cancer

cellphone, brain tumors

Cellphones now seen as possible -- not certain -- causes of cancer.

The World Health Organization has long said there wasn’t enough evidence to establish that cellphones pose any sort of health threat. Today, the agency announced it would now list cellphone use as a carcinogenic hazard — something that can “possibly cause cancer.” That puts them in the same category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

WHO announced the change today after 31 scientists from around the world — including the U.S. — analyzed the peer-reviewed studies looking into a connection between cancer and cellphones.

What does this mean for frequent cellphone users and their kids?

It means that we still don’t know that they do cause cancer, but there’s also not enough evidence to rule them out as carcinogens.

But the largest international study to date showed that people who had used a cellphone frequently for 10 years or more had double the rate of certain kinds of brain tumors, according to a report about the WHO announcement on CNN.com.

Cellphone radiation isn’t like X-ray radiation. The radiation like a really low-powered microwave oven. So what prolonged and frequent use of a cellphone could be doing is basically cooking the brain like a microwave. In addition to tumors, cellphone use could be affecting long-term memory, since we hold the phones right at our memory temporal lobes.

Whatever cellphones adversely affect adults, in children it would be much more worse since their immature skulls are much thinner, experts report. With cellphone owners getting younger and younger — I’m seeing 4th-graders take them to school — and with more and more young families ditching their landlines, exposure rates are really high.

Still, lead and engine exhaust are also part of many kids’ daily lives and it’s important to remember that the WHO has not deemed them cancer-causing. We simply don’t know what cellphones are doing to us.

Does this new report make you want to put down your cellphone? Do you kids talk on the cellphone? Are you worried about it?

Photo: SparkCBC via flickr

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