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Risk Associated With Cell Phones Essay

1366 words - 5 pages

Risk Associated With Cell PhonesAs a result of several clusters of brain tumors, the question of cell phones causing cancer has attracted a lot of public attention. Although most studies show no relationship, emotions run high and believers rally around a few suggestive studies. The current data suggests that if there is a risk, it is very small and relates more to older, analog-type units than the modern digital units. However, latency issues are a problem because these units have only been in use for a few years.Additionally, there is ever-increasing use, which raises dose-related questions. Further concerns relate to the increasing use of cell phones by children, who are at potentially greater risk. The one identified risk is that of motor vehicle collisions by users of cell phones. In the balance, judicious use of handheld digital cell phones is likely not a risk for brain tumors, but where possible hands-free use is advisable. Also, for reasons that go well beyond cancer, limiting use in children is likely wise. But this is an evolving field, as cell phones are ubiquitous; they are used by all segments of the population, including children. As such, even a small effect may be significant.Rf Energy And Electromagnetic FieldsCell phones operate with radio frequencies (RF) and create electromagnetic fields (EMF). They do not emit the ionizing radiation associated with DNA damage. As the technology has developed, lower levels of RF are required to maintain services. Digital cell phones use much lower power than older analog units. Likewise, cordless telephones designed for local use also have lower energy levels. However, older analog cell phones and specialized units can emit high energy levels of RF. Also, concerns exist about proximity to cell phone towers.It is true that RF energy from cell phones can penetrate the brain through the skull. This RF energy is insufficient to break chemical bonds or damage DNA, even with the most powerful cell phones. However, this energy can heat tissue up to 0.1 degree C, which has raised concern about carcinogenicity. There is also a body of literature that suggests that work in the electrical industry with exposure to EMF can cause brain cancer, although the relationship is not strong. There is a body of literature that suggests other cancers, most notably leukemia, is associated with exposure to EMF. These relationships are stronger than for brain cancer. It is against this background of perceived similar exposure that the issues of brain cancer and cell phones arise.The issue of hyperthermia and cancer has been addressed by several studies. In reviewing the evidence, researchers reviewed studies on hyperthermia with and without other carcinogens and RF exposures. The studies pointed to hyperthermia and RF caused hyperthermia as not being carcinogenic.The objective evidence for a relationship are Swedish studies that used a population-based case control methodology. The first of these studies utilized a...

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