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Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: A Valid Concern?

Most studies focus on two different types of tumors - gliomas and acoustic neuromas. Gliomas are the most common form of cancerous brain tumors, and acoustic neuromas are benign tumors found on the acoustic nerve.

A 2007 review published in Occupational Environmental Medicine looked at 18 studies of cell phones and brain tumors, and concluded that individuals who have regularly used a cell phone for 10 or more years "give a consistent pattern of an increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma." One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found this risk to be as much as 50% higher in regular cell phone users than non-users. Regular cell phone use is defined as at least one call per week for at least 6 months. This same review found the risk to be highest on the side of the head that cell phones are used on.

The National Research Center for Women and Families found other reviews drew similar conclusions, with some suggesting that regular cell phone use can double or even quadruple one's risk for brain tumors.

In addition to cell phones, some experts believe cordless phones represent a risk as well. In a study conducted by Powerwatch, cordless phones were found to emit electromagnetic fields as strong as three volts per meter. To put that in perspective, a volt as small as 0.6 per meter can be known to cause ill-effects in people.

The ACS believes these risks aren't completely unfounded, but also states that any dangers from using cell phones are most likely very small. In addition, the ACS does not raise the question of health risks involving cordless phones.

It's important to remember that researchers aren't saying that cell phones have definitively been found to cause brain tumors, only that preliminary results suggest the need to research this topic more thoroughly.



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