There are five billion mobile phones in the world. Many people, especially the young, use mobile phones without taking into account the alleged potential health risks involved. But since last May the International Agency for Research on Cancer has been giving clear warnings about a possible causal relationship between mobile phone use and a malignant type of brain cancer: the glioma.
Professor Kurt Straif at the International Agency for Research on Cancer has spent years studying the potentially dangerous effects of cell phone use. He said: “We talk about radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields. It has been shown that these alter cerebral blood flow. There are some other effects, also including some altered effects on the DNA. Altogether, there is some weak evidence that this radiation could cause cancer in humans, but essentially the mechanism is not well established at this moment. Among the heaviest users of mobile phones there is a 40 percent increase risk, among those using the mobile phones on average 30 minutes a day for 10 years, and that comes from looking into glioma that is a sub-type of brain cancer.”
Giving advice for mobile phone users, he continued, “Using hands-free kits for voice calls can already reduce your exposure more than 90 percent, simply because the source of the radiation is further away from the body and the distance from the body is one of the most important determinants for the exposure.”
According to Professor Straif, using mobile phones on trains can increase the risk, because the phone continuously finds new connection with lots of ground stations which change very frequently because of the speed of the train. Therefore the phone emits higher intensity magnetic waves.
Professor Straf says that the new generation smartphones – in particular the so-called next fourth generation – could emit a lower level of magnetic fields. But that has yet to be proven.
Finally, he says that it is always better to use earphones, as this reduces exposure. Cordless telephones also emit magnetic waves, although at lower levels than mobile phones, so it is wise to limit their use.
It is the same thing for wi-fi stations, he adds. It is better to switch them off while not in use – for example, during the night. Never sleep with the telephone switched on under your pillow or close to your bed. In any case, he advises, whenever possible, try to use a fixed line phone.