Matters concerned with Environment

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cell phones linked to cancer - WHO

Cell phones linked to cancer   
Sunday, 05 June 2011 11:44

By Sound Living Reporter
That buzzing, clicking, hissing or popping sound during a mobile phone call may cause brain cancer.The World Health Organisation research institute says receiving calls on your mobile over a prolonged period could lead to a form of brain cancer known as glioma.

Lead researcher Dr Jonathan Samet of the University of Southern California said there was evidence linking radio frequency fields on phones and their base stations to brain cancer.

The research was based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.“The conclusion means there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk,” said Dr Samet.

Sparking debate
Over the years, scientists have released new findings periodically, sparking debate for and against the gadgets, but the current research by WHO could affect the lifestyle of five billion subscribers globally.The global health body advised consumers to switch to text messaging and use of the hands-free option to reduce exposure.

Past studies that suggest a risk have indicated that tumours tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone.

Over the years, WHO is on record for dismissing studies linking radio frequency to cancer, saying they are inconclusive and do not support the hypothesis that exposure causes or influences cancer.

However, it has acknowledged particular findings that have linked mobile phone use to altered brain and body activity, including risks like leukaemia and brain tumours and has outlined a number of safety measures.
The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possible cancer-causing agents and classified it as Group 2B.

A glioma is a type of tumour that starts in the brain or spine. A brain glioma can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures and cranial nerve disorders as a result of increased intracranial pressure.

The WHO research is corroborated by a survey early last month by the US National Institute of Health that found that less than an hour of cell phone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna and this, they say, may cause health problems.

The study, published last month in The Journal of the American Medical Association, says the weak radio-frequency signals from cell phones have the potential to alter brain and body activity.

The researchers, led by Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, established considerable changes in brain activity among 47 individuals involved in the study through brain scan.

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