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Beware, exorbitant cell phone use may cause brain tumor
Pakistan Created: 3 May 2009
Though the cell phone phobia is taking over the youth and over 91 million Pakistanis use cell phones today, experts are of the opinion that the cell phones emit Radiofrequency (RF) energy which may increase the risk of cancer for cell phone users.

To date, many of the studies have focused on whether RF energy can cause malignant or benign brain tumors. The experts opine that the cell phone users are exposed to the radiofrequency (RF) energy, a non-ionizing form of radiation, emitted by the cell phones and due to the widespread use of this technology, there is understandable concern about the health implications of cell phone use.

“The animal experiments investigating the effects of Radiofrequency energy (RF) exposures characteristic of wireless/cell phones have suggested that low levels of RF could accelerate the development of cancer in laboratory animals. However, many of the studies that showed increased tumor development used animals that had been genetically engineered or treated with cancer-causing chemicals so as to be pre-disposed to develop cancer in the presence of RF exposure,” said Dr. Masood Ahmad, an expert, while talking.

He said the studies investigated any possible association between the use of wireless phones and primary brain cancer, glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma, tumors of the brain or salivary gland, leukemia, or other cancers.

“Though some studies demonstrated the existence of harmful health effects from wireless phone RF exposures. However, none of the studies can answer questions about long-term exposures, since the average period of phone use in these studies was around three years,” he added.

A “Cell Phone Facts” document for consumers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reviews the research on cell phones that has been completed to date.

The document recommend additional research and noted the challenges of completing the laboratory and epidemiological studies that might offer conclusive data on risks of cell phones.

The agencies note that animal studies investigating cell phone use would need to be very large to offer meaningful data, and epidemiological studies might require ten or more years of follow-up.

Finally, the agencies note difficulties in measuring actual RF exposure, including which model of phone is used and the angle of the cell phone during the use.

The North American Brain Tumor Coalition (NABTC) has for a number of years carefully monitored the research related to the potential adverse effects associated with cell phone use.

The NABTC urges these precautions in absence of definitive studies regarding the risks of cell phones. The coalition urges the most expeditious possible completion of research studies, including one sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), to provide consumers better information about the risks created by their use of cell phones.

In the absence of conclusive studies, it is recommended that individuals take simple precautions to limit their cell phone use and that they impose restrictions on the use of cell phones by children.

The WHO published a fact sheet on cell phones in the Year 2000, which stated, “Given the immense numbers of mobile phones, even small adverse effects on health could have major public health implications.”

A recently published meta-analysis by an Australian neurosurgeon has also intensified concerns about the risks of cell phone use and created great interest in the completion of ongoing studies.

Although public health authorities are not in agreement regarding the issuance of public health advisories about cell phones in light of the inconclusive data regarding their risks, most governments have issued precautionary warnings regarding cell phone use.

The United Kingdom in 2000 urged that cell phone use among children be limited and undertook a leafleting campaign to distribute information about limiting use by children.

In 2006, the Canadian government urged adults to moderate their cell phone use and the cell phone use of their children until the science regarding the risks of cell phones is clear.

“If you must conduct extended conversations by wireless phone every day, you could place more distance between your body and the source of the RF, since the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance. For example, you could use a headset and carry the wireless phone away from your body or use a wireless phone connected to a remote antenna,” advised Dr. Masood.

In a July 2008 memo to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute faculty and staff, institute director Ronald Herberman, M.D. offered “Practical Advice to Limit Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted from Cell Phones.”

Dr. Herberman said that release of the ten “prudent and simple precautions” to reduce exposure was based on the recommendations of an international panel of experts convened by the University of Pittsburgh.

Those experts stated that, “electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones should be considered a potential human health risk.”
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Source: Pakistan Daily - Karachi, 03 May 2009

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