It looks like our iPhones may be killing us after all, and I don't just mean our social lives because of Angry Birds addiction.
The World Health Organization has just announced that radiation from cellphones can possibly cause cancer. The WHO has not announced a definite link, but has determined that exposure should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
This means that cellphone use is now a part of the "carcinogenic hazard" category, joining things like lead, engine exhaust and chloroform according to CNN.
In one of their latest reports, the WHO said that "a large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use."
But now, they have decided that enough evidence exists to suggest a link between the two. A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries made the determination by reviewing multiple studies on the link.
One of the biggest concerns about cellphones and cancer stems from the exposure to radiofrequency waves (RF). Some suggest that these could have the effect of holding your head near a microwave oven. Dr. Keith Black neurologist at Cedars-Sinai, as quoted by CNN:
What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.
The National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) mentions studies regarding cellphone use and brain tumors on their "Cell Phones and Cancer Risk" online fact sheet, but dismiss it as inconclusive:
Research studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancer. A large international study (Interphone) published in 2010 found that, overall, cell phone users have no increased risk for two of the most common types of brain tumor—glioma and meningioma. For the small proportion of study participants who reported spending the most total time on cell phone calls there was some increased risk of glioma, but the researchers considered this finding inconclusive
Some reports have suggested that the link is strong and serious, while others have debunked it as scare science. It is far from a settled issue, but this new announcement by the WHO should raise a couple of eyebrows, considering the fact that its the WHO. But I have a feeling that many of us would accept brain cancer as an alternative to returning to pre-cellphone days.