Alarmed by news reports that cellphones could possibly cause brain tumors? Here's what we know so far.
You will need
Step 1 Understand cellphone radiation Know what “cellphone radiation” is. Cellphones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation, the kind produced by X-ray machines, has been linked to cancer; nonionizing radiation has not.
Step 2 Understand a research finding Understand the classification of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which evaluates environmental and lifestyle factors for possible links to cancer. The I.A.R.C. classifies cellphones as a “possible” carcinogen, meaning it’s not certain whether they pose a cancer risk.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer also lists coffee and pickled vegetables as possible carcinogens.
Step 3 Understand the confusion Understand why the I.A.R.C. classification is confusing. Some studies into possible links between cellphones and cancer have found a higher risk of brain tumors, while others have found a lower risk. Some scientists point out that cellphones have been in use for years with no subsequent increase in brain tumors; others say there hasn’t been enough time to determine the effect on younger generations who began using cellphones in childhood.
Step 4 Play it safe Play it safe by reducing your exposure to cellphone radiation. Use speakerphone or a wired earpiece — a ferrite bead will lower your exposure even further. Also limit the time you’re on your cellphone while walking and when you have a weak signal; cellphones emit more radiation when they’re in motion or far away from a cell tower.
Avoid wireless earpieces, which emit radiation right at your ear, albeit at lower levels.
Step 5 Stay tuned Stay tuned to new research — the jury is still out on cellphone radiation and cancer risk. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to talk less on your cellphone and send text messages whenever possible.
Did You Know:
85 percent of Americans 18 and older own a cellphone.