Thursday 23 June 2011

Mobile Phones May Cause Cancer :- WHO

WHO says mobile phones may cause cancer. No, this isn't a rhetorical question, but a WHO report suggests that prolonged cell phone usage may be bad for your health. This isn't restricted to mobiles alone, but any wireless communication devices that use microwaves to transmit information. While, researchers had a fair idea on the harmful effects of microwaves, this is the first time WHO has acknowledged the possibility through a report. TheInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reached a conclusion through a meeting in Lyon, France, where the body deemed that the electromagnetic fields generated by these wireless devices are "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

The decision was reached by a team of 31 experts from 14 countries, which based its findings on empirical evidence from epidemiological studies. In layman's terms, the report draws from statistical analysis of cases involving the co-existence of heavy mobile usage with symptoms of cancer. To give you an idea, some individuals tracked in the studies had used their phones for an average of 30 minutes per day over a period of 10 years according to the report.

On the other hand, University of Sydney's Bruce Armstrong, an Australian researcher who was a part of the expert team, believes more research is needed before a concrete link can be established between cancer and mobile phones. Armstrong puts forth an interesting finding suggesting that the 3G technology used by iPhones, Blackberry, and other smartphones appeared to emit less harmful radiowaves than traditional cell phones. "A very important observation, really, just based on the technology, is that the 3G phones in fact give a much lower dose to the brain than the previous generations", says Armstrong.

However, don't be too happy about your 3G capable pride and joy, because these statistics may be a result of the relatively lower penetration of 3G handsets. Let's not forget the fact that this technology has been in the market for a significantly lower time than regular ones. "Whether, for example, the 3G levels are sufficient to cause brain tumours, we don t know at this stage, because most of the research at this stage was done on the generation before , concludes Armstrong, underscoring the need for further study.

At any rate, with 5 billion estimated mobile phone subscriptions globally, the proliferation of mobiles into our lives is irreversible. However, the govts across the world should ideally enforce handset manufacturers to adhere to safer levels of Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) in their products. In the interim, WHO advises cell phone users to use hands-free devices to minimise exposure to the electromagnetic waves. In short, if you care for someone, don't call them. At least that's what we're lead to believe with such reports.

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