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The Effects Of Cell Phones On Health


By the end of 2011 the number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide was more than six billion people. The unprecedented increase in the use of cell phones and the fact that they emit radio frequency field has caused public fears of possible adverse health effects of continuous use of mobile handsets. Mobile phones function by using microwaves which are a part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves. Mobile handsets and their base transceiver stations emit radio frequency fields (RF). However, research into potentially harmful effects of exposure to RF has almost exclusively cantered on handsets because they emit a thousand times more RF than base transceiver stations. Part of the radiation emitted by handsets is absorbed by the human body. This public anxiety is caused by the fact that exposure to radio frequency fields could be potentially carcinogenic if the duration and magnitude of exposure is sufficient.

The International Agency for Cancer Research has several categories of classification of risk factors based on their potential for causing cancer. The highest of these is Group 1 which being interpreted means dangerous. The second Group 2A is interpreted as probably cancer-causing. The third, Group 2B, is possibly cancer-inducing. Currently, mobile cell phones are classified in category 2B which means that as of now, there is no proven direct correlation between the use of cell phones and incidence of cancer.

Results of Some Scientific Studies on the Effects of Cell Phones on Health

There have been many scientific studies carried out by different organizations on the probable effects of the use of mobile handsets on health. A report by The EU’s Scientific Commission on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has concluded that exposure to radio frequency fields may not cause cancer in people. Three lines of study were carried out by this commission, that is, animal studies, in vitro studies, and the epidemiological studies yielded this conclusion. In 2006, a group in Denmark carried out scientific studies involving more than 420,000 people and concluded that the use of mobile handsets does not increase the risk of developing cancer. This study spanned a period of 20 years. A follow up study carried out five years later had the same results. The INTERPHONE project published its findings in 2011 and found no link between ‘head cancers’ and the use of cell phones.


The currently available information seems to indicate that there is as present no need for limiting the use of cell phones or compelling phone manufacturing companies to issue health advisories as is done by tobacco companies.


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