Mobile phones ARE linked to cancer, study claims: Long-term use is associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, headaches and skin irritation
- Radiation from wireless devices such as phones and tablets could be linked to a number of health risks, a new review of studies has claimed
- Scientists claim radiation causes oxidative stress in the body – a damaging process thought to be closely linked to degenerative diseases
- Study authors say mobile phone use should be minimised to prevent harm
- Official guidelines state the devices could ‘possibly’ cause cancer
Mobile phones pose a ‘very real risk’ to human health, a new study claims.
Radiation from wireless devices such as phones and tablets could be linked to a number of health risks, from cancer to diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the researchers state.
They claim this is because the radiation causes an ‘imbalance’ – or oxidative stress – in the body.
Oxidative stress is a damaging process thought to be closely linked to degenerative diseases.
The new study is a review of experimental data on the effects of radiofrequency radiation in living cells – basically how mobiles phones may damage a person’s DNA.
Dr Igor Yakymenko, from the The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, claims the oxidative stress due to radiofrequency exposure could explain the link between wireless devices and cancer.
After long-term exposure, it is also linked to other minor disorders such as headache, fatigue, and skin irritation, he says.
His argument is based around reactive oxygen species – chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen.
They play an important role in cell signalling and the control of internal conditions such as temperature.
When reactive oxygen species levels increase dramatically, this can cause significant damage to cell structures – this is known as oxidative stress.
The article argues that while reactive oxygen species are often produced in cells due to aggressive environments, they can also be provoked by ‘ordinary wireless radiation’.
‘These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health,’ Dr Yakymenko said.
He told the New York Daily News that using your phone for just 20 minutes a day for five years increased the risk of one type of brain tumor threefold, and using the phone an hour a day for four years upped the risk of some tumors three to five times.
He told the paper: ‘(Our) data were obtained on adults who used cell phones mostly up to 10 years as adults.
‘The situation can dramatically differ for children who use cells phone in childhood, when their biology much more sensitive to hazardous factors, and will use it over the life.’
And despite the risk of cancers of the brain being low, he insists care is still needed because some health implications only appear decades later.
As a result, Yakymenko and his colleagues call for a precautionary approach – such as using phones less and going hands-free to keep the frequency away from the head area.
The study, published in the journal Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine, is the latest in a long-running exploration of mobile-phone safety.
It was done in collaboration between scientists at Indiana University, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Campinas in Brazil.
Over the past 15 years most investigations have failed to turn up conclusive results either way, although several have suggested a link between a type of brain tumour called a glioma and intensive, long-term use.
The latest official stance is that radiofrequency (RFR)/microwave radiation has a ‘possible carcinogenic effect’.
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified mobile phones for the first time in their ‘gold-standard’ rating system.
Scientists there said the devices could ‘possibly’ cause cancer in humans but there was not enough evidence to come to a clear conclusion.
The type of radiation used in communications, electronic and other devices is called non-ionising radiation.
Most non-ionising radiation has less energy than ionising radiation, this means it doesn’t have enough energy to change our cells in the same way as ionising radiation.
According to Cancer Research UK, the scientific evidence currently shows it’s unlikely that mobile phones could increase the risk of brain tumours, or any other type of cancer.
But the charity concedes that not enough is known to ‘completely rule out a risk’.
Last year another study claimed that people who used their phones more than 15 hours each month appears to have a higher risk of developing certain types of brain cancer.
The French researchers said these users were at two to three times higher risk of developing glioma and meningioma tumours.