A new study suggests growing evidence to support a suspected link between cell phone use and brain tumors.
According to a study published this month, French researchers found that people who spend a lot of time on their cell phones may be at a higher risk of developing a brain tumor, the Las Vegas Guardian Liberty Voice reports.
Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung of South Korea’s National Cancer Center explains that cell phones emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in the microwave spectrum, which may cause cancer, though he cautions that this is not yet proven. Myung led an analysis of previous studies of cell phone use and brain tumors, Reuters reports. In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Cancer said that this radiation is possibly carcinogenic.
Dr. Gaelle Coureau of the Université Bordeaux Segalen headed a team that used a cancer registry to identify adults with meningiomas or gliomas, which are the two most common adult brain tumors. The radio frequency electromagnetic fields that researchers believe can cause cancer cause heat as they penetrate tissue. Holding a cell phone to the ear brings the source of the radiation frequencies close to the brain, and may be the link between cell phones and brain tumors, according to the Guardian Liberty Voice. Some critics say the non-ionizing energy emitted by cell phones should not cause damage to chemical bonds or DNA within a human body, but the Environmental Working Group found studies showing that cell phones carried in pants pockets can affect men’s sperm quality.
The French researchers examined 253 glioma and 194 meningioma cases in four French regions, and a comparison group of twice as many people from those areas who had never had a brain tumor, according to Reuters. The researchers questioned participants about cell phone use. They collected information on the participant’s phone model, how long they had used it, the average number and length of calls made and received each month, and whether the phone was used for work. “Regular users” were people who reported using a cell phone at least once a week for at least six months. People with the longest cumulative duration of calls – more than 896 hours on the phone – were found to be about twice as likely to have a glioma or meningioma as people who talked less.
The World Health Organization advises cell phone users to hold the phone farther away from the head, or to use it on speakerphone or with a hands-free device to reduce radio frequency exposure, according to the Guardian Liberty Voice.