The suspected dangers of constant mobile phone usage have been a great concern among scientists. Presently, cellular phones are grouped, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as carcinogenic category 2b which is a very dangerous carcinogen to humans. A recent study at the Tel Aviv University, may bring more bad news.
Dr. Yaniv Hamzany of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Department at the Rabin Medical Center, searched for evidence in the saliva of mobile phone users to further look in to the link between cancer rates and mobile phone usage. Since the cell phone is kept near the salivary gland when in it is being used, he and his team of researchers, including departmental colleagues Profs. Raphael Feinmesser, Thomas Shpitzer and Dr. Gideon Bahar and Prof. Rafi Nagler and Dr. Moshe Gavish of the Technion in Haifa, created a hypothesis that salivary content could expose whether there was a relationship to developing cancer.
By comparing regular cell phone users to non-users, they found that the saliva of heavy users displayed evidence of higher oxidative stress – which can damage all aspects of a human cell, including DNA – by increasing the level of toxic peroxides and free radicals (oxidants). The important thing here is that, it is looked upon as a major risk factor for cancer.
The researchers experimented with the saliva content of 20 heavy-user patients, defined as conversing on their mobile phones for a minimum of eight hours a month. “Most participants speak much more,” Dr. Hamzany says, “As much as 30 to 40 hours a month. Their salivary content was compared to that of a control group, which consisted of deaf patients who either do not use a cell phone, or use the device exclusively for sending text messages and other non-verbal functions.”
Compared to the control group, the heavy cell phone users had a noteworthy increment in all salivary oxidative stress, measurements studied.
“This suggests that there is considerable oxidative stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cell phone when in use,” he says. The damage done by oxidative stress is connected to cellular and genetic mutations which trigger the growth of tumors.
“This field of research reflects longstanding concerns about the impact of cell phone use, specifically the effects of radio-frequency non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation on human tissue located close to the ear,” the researchers say.
“One potential avenue of future research would be to analyze a person’s saliva prior to exposure to a cell phone, and then again after several intense minutes of exposure. This will allow researchers to see if there is an immediate response, such as a rise in molecules that indicate oxidative stress,” Dr. Hamzany says.