An emerging study reveals a clear association between the use of cell phones and increased cancer risks.
While many have long believed that cell phone use has been linked to cancer, research has been somewhat inconclusive until now, according to The Times of Israel. The study was published in the scientific journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. The study results do not establish a direct link between cellphone use and the development of cancer among cell phone users; however, the research does open new areas of research and establishes a clear association between long-term cell phone use and possibly dangerous side effects that can, in turn, lead to molecular changes that can lead to cancer, The Times of India reported.
For the study, researchers from TAU, Rabin Medical Center, and the Technion studied the salivary glands of 20 long-term cell phone users whose cell phone use was deemed heavy. Heavy cell phone use was defined as a mean of 12 years of 30 hours weekly use. The comparison group involved 20 subjects who are deaf and who either did not use the devices or only used them for text messaging, according to The Times of India.
The researchers hypothesized that potential cell phone cancer effects could be determined by analyzing users’ saliva since the devices are typically placed close to the salivary glands when cell phones are used to make telephone calls. The team discovered that, when compared to the non-user group, the cell phone users’ saliva revealed very increased indications of oxidative stress. The oxidative stress process is considered a significant cancer risk factor, The Times of India reported.
“Increasing use of mobile phones creates growing concerns regarding harmful effects of radio frequency nonionizing electromagnetic radiation on human tissues located close to the ear, where phones are commonly held for long periods of time,” the study noted.
The researchers reported, “a significant increase in all salivary oxidative stress indices studied in mobile phone users,” which led to their conclusion that “use of mobile phones may cause oxidative stress and modify salivary function.” The findings suggest that “considerable oxidative stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cell phone when in use,” are present, Dr. Yaniv Hamzany of TAU told The Times of India. Dr. Hamzany noted that this oxidative stress, a result of cell phone radiation emissions, is linked to the cell mutations that lead to cancerous tumor development.
The World Health Organization (WHHO) previously re-classified cell phone radiation as a “possible carcinogen similar to car exhaust” and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) previously announced that it is analyzing external studies as part of its decision to adjust limits on the amount of radiation cell phones are permitted to emit.
The WHO also called for more research on the devices, which have grown to 5 billion in use as of 2012. Also, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decision to classify cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans was based on a review of hundreds of human and animal studies, including the 2010 INTERPHONE study. In fact, INTERPHONE found that the heaviest cell phone users experienced a 40 percent increased risk for gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor.
In Europe and other foreign countries, a cell phone-cancer link is more widely accepted. There is also widespread agreement that it could take decades for cancer to appear. What is known about cell phones is that the devices produce energy that manifests in heat. Experts fear that this heat, which can be experienced when the device is held to the ear, changes brain cell activity, a point of concern raised in some studies.