Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors?

photo of brain activity

Is our obsession with being accessible at any time and our gift for gabbing causing brain tumors and brain cancer?  The jury is still out, but increasing evidence is being found that suggests cell phone use may indeed be hazardous to our health.

In our society of over-information, you can find studies supporting and opposing just about any stance.  I think it is one of the reasons that we, as American consumers, are confused about what is good and what is bad for us.

But, for me, when I hear experts, specifically physicians, raising health concerns and red flags, I tend to listen.  Such is the case with a possible link between cell phone usage and an increase in brain tumors.  I recently saw a piece by Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent on this very topic.  Dr. Gupta, himself a neurosurgeon, spoke with Dr. Keith Black, Chairman of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Dr. Black explained that based on what he has seen in patients, he does feel there is a correlation between cell phone usage and brain tumor growth.

What Science is This Claim Based On?

Doctor Black explained that cell phones emit low levels of microwave radiation – similar to your microwave oven, but at lower levels.  Some recent brain scan studies show that their is an actual change in the metabolism of the brain where the cell phone touches the head.  In very simplified terms, the microwave radiation waves are  “heating up” the part of the brain in which it has close contact.

photo of woman using cell phone
Is talking on the cell phone an "at risk" behavior?

Dr. Gupta further went on to explain that the cell phone manufacturers themselves recommend holding the cell phone away from the body when making calls.  The distance they recommend varies, but is somewhere around an inch.

Other studies have even questioned the safety of wearing the cell phone in a front pocket where it is close to reproductive organs and where bone marrow is produced.

photo of girls on cell phones
Should kids be using cell phones?

Both Dr. Gupta and Dr. Black expressed real concern with children using cell phones as well.  Dr. Black explained that children’s scalps and skulls are thinner, allowing radiation to enter more easily.  He also went on to explain that kids brain cells are generating so quickly, that it could also possibly mean that cancer cells could reproduce more quickly in them as well.  As a mom, this data was particularly troubling to me.  And unfortunately, no studies have been done on children’s brains and exposure to cell phone radiation.  This too, is of concern to me.

Their Suggestions for Your Safety

Obviously, people aren’t just going to give up their cell phones.  But some simple precausions can be taken:

  1. Use a corded earpiece to make calls so the cell phone is away from your body.
  2. Use a holster or a purse to carry your cell phone.
  3. Limit unnecessary cell phone calls.

You Be the Judge

It will probably be years before we have any truly definitive data on this–such studies take decades to be able to establish true trends.  Is it enough information to make you change the way you operate?  That is up to you.  For more details, check out Dr. Gupta’s post and video report.



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Beth celebrates the everyday wonders of life with a keen eye for deals, a flare for the color green, and an honest desire to share with her fellow moms here in town! Check out more of Beth's recent articles, and subscribe to our daily email/rss feed to see what she writes next!
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2 thoughts on “Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors?

  1. Beth says:

    Kelly–It’s tough, and so hard to know WHO is telling the truth–way more than 2 sides to every story thse days! Sometimes, cell phones are necessary–I take mine everywhere “just in case.” But, from now on, I’ll be using my hands-free corded device. Just bought one at Marc’s for about $2, and tested it–it works great, even dials the last # with one touch of the earpiece!

  2. kelly says:

    I used to believe all of the dangers of cell phones, then I gave way to ‘denial’…if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. How foolish of me. 🙁 (my girls both have cell phones)

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