Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Cell Phone DANGER
Last week, the buzz in much of medical media centered around cell phone use and risk of cancer, because an early release of a study published in an oncology medical journal noted that cell phone users had a 40% INCREASE in gliomas, which are a type of brain tumor. To put it in perspective, though, the baseline glioma risk in the general population is 1 in every 200,000 adults. The potential cell phone increase would increase that risk to 1 in 120,000. However, given the 5 BILLION cell phone users worldwide, everyone is understandably concerned with whether or not they can cause cancer in humans. The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) has indeed now classified these radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)". Of course, these fields can come from microwaves, tv's, and radars, as well as cell phones.
When are the phones considered dangerous? When the phone is used on the same side for 30 minutes/day for > 10 years. (Lancet Oncology; July, 2011). Previous studies showed no increased risk if you alternate ears as you talk on the phone, and the jury is still out regarding blue-tooth and other wireless devices.
What is my level of concern? As usual, I think overuse of nearly anything can be harmful to your health, whether it's chocolate, french fries, wine or cell phones. I know that cell phones are causing far more harm RIGHT NOW as people chat on the phone nonstop as they drive, and heaven forbid, TEXT. I was nearly hit in a parking garage today by a driver busily texting as she negotiated the tight ramps. Apparently simply dialing your phone while driving TRIPLES your risk of a car accident, and texting increases that risk by a factor of 28!!
As a side note, my kids know that I am always looking for pictures for this blog. We were driving the other day, and a young woman passed us (in the right hand lane, mind you!) while she was looking at her cell phone AND smoking a cigarette. Immediately everyone in our car (EXCEPT THE DRIVER) reached for a phone or camera to grab her picture as the health "DON'T", and the kids launched into "my" speech about driving safety. She sped away before we caught her picture, so this is me POSING as the driving "DON"T".
BOTTOM LINE: PLEASE, leave your CELL PHONE in the BACK SEAT (or your purse, or the trunk- whatever is safely out of reach) when you drive, so you wont be even tempted to look at your latest text, none the less, respond.