Cell phones and cancer: New UC Berkeley study suggests cell phones sharply increase tumor risk
BERKELEY, Calif. – New UC Berkeley research draws a strong link between cell phone radiation and tumors, particularly in the brain.
Researchers took a comprehensive look at statistical findings from 46 different studies around the globe and found that the use of a cell phone for more than 1,000 hours, or about 17 minutes a day over a ten year period, increased the risk of tumors by 60 percent.
Researchers also pointed to findings that showed cell phone use for 10 or more years doubled the risk of brain tumors.
Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health conducted the research in partnership with Korea’s National Cancer Center, and Seoul National University. Their analysis took a comprehensive look at statistical findings from case control studies from 16 countries including the U.S., Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand.
“Cell phone use highlights a host of public health issues and it has received little attention in the scientific community, unfortunately,” said Moskowitz.
Cell phone use has increasingly become part of people’s daily lives, especially with the emergence of smartphones. Recent figures from the Pew Research Center showed that 97% of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind.
This, as more and more people have become dependent on their mobile phones as an integral mode of communication. In fact, an increasing number of people have ditched their landlines at home, relying on their cell phone as their sole device for telephone communication.
Figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics found 61.8% of adults have decided to go wireless-only.
With the increased use of mobile devices, the research has been vast on their potential link to cancer. The findings have varied and at times been controversial.
Many studies looking into the health risks of cell phone use have been funded or partially funded by the cellular phone industry, which critics argue can skew research results.
“Moskowitz emphasized that these studies have been controversial as it is a highly sensitive political topic with significant economic ramifications for a powerful industry,” Berkeley Public Health noted.
The position held by federal regulators point to a lack of evidence showing a direct link.
“To date, there is no consistent or credible scientific evidence of health problems caused by the exposure to radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones,” the Food and Drug Administration stated on its website.
The FDA also said that the Federal Communications Commission has set a limit on radio frequency energy that “remains acceptable for protecting the public health.”
UC Berkeley researchers noted that in 2017, California regulators alerted the public of potential health risks related to cell phone use, although some felt the warning did not go far enough.
In its alert, the California Department of Public Health said, “Although the science is still evolving, some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects.”
The agency also provided advice on how to reduce exposure, including keeping phones away from your body and carrying devices in a backpack, briefcase, or purse. Health experts said cell phones should not be held in a pocket, bra, or belt holster, as a phone’s antenna tries to stay connected with a cell tower whenever it’s on, emitting radio frequency (RF) energy even when not in use.