There is an ongoing debate on whether cell phone radiation causes cancer in humans. The non-ionizing radio-frequency radiation that cell phones emit has just one known biological effect, the ability to heat tissue by exciting its molecules.

Studies show that prolonged exposure to even low levels of RF radiation,  makes rats especially prone to a rare cancer called a schwannoma, which affects a type of neuron called a Schwann cell.

Studies took into account both near field and far field radio-frequency radiation and confirmed that they have biological effects in rats. When switched on, cell phones and other wireless devices emit RF radiation even if they are not actively in use, because the devices are continually communicating with cell towers.

A few epidemiology studies have even reported higher rates of tumors inside the skull of people who use cell phones heavily for ten years or more. Of particular concern are benign Schwann cell tumors called acoustic neuromas, which affect nerve cells connecting the inner ear with structures inside the brain. These growths can occur and in some instances progress to full-blown cancer over time. But other studies have found no evidence of acoustic neuromas or brain tumors in heavy cell phone users.

Since 2011 radio-frequency radiation has been classified as a Group 2B “possible” human carcinogen by the International Agency on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization. With calls to change its classification to probable.

Earlier in the year, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Jeffrey Shuren, wrote that with hundreds of studies on the combined evidence of radio-frequency radiation exposure and human cancer the scientific community has confidence that the current safety limits for cell phone radiation remain acceptable for protecting the public health.

 

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