A study at Tel Aviv University has unearthed new evidence into the links between cell phone usage and the risk of cancer increasing. Scientists from the University, Rabin Medical Centre, and the Technion conducted the research study, in which they observed the saliva of 20 people who were heavy, long-term cell phone users, where long-term is defined as an average of 12 years at 30 hours a week. The saliva was compared to that of a control group comprised of mostly deaf people, who, due to their condition, didn’t use mobile phones for voice calls.
The study, which was published in the journal “Antioxidants and Redox Signalling”, had researchers noting:
“Increasing use of mobile phones creates growing concerns regarding harmful effects of radio-frequency non-ionising electromagnetic radiation on human tissues located close to the ear, where phones are commonly held for long periods of time.”
Their conclusion was that in comparison to the control group, the saliva of the heavy long-term cell phone users showed high indications of something called oxidative stress, which is considered a major risk marker for cancer.
How do cell phones cause cancer?
Mobile phones emit radiation. In general there are two types of radiation, ionising and non-ionising, and mobile phones emit the latter. Non-ionising radiation does not possess enough energy to knock an electron off an atom or molecule and hence was considered harmless till now, when a number of studies like this have revealed that there are quite a few harmful effects on the body of this type of radiation.
The “oxidative stress” found in the Tel Aviv study can be defined as “an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and the ability to detoxify or repair the resulting damage.” In layman’s terms, this process creates toxic peroxides and free radicals that damage human cells and DNA, leading to cellular and genetic mutation, which is directly linked to the development of tumours.
In 2011, the World Health Organisation decided that cell phone emissions are “possibly carcinogenic” and placed them under classification “Category 2B Carcinogen”.
Although the TAU study did not provide conclusive proof that using mobile phones causes cancer, the information it gathered adds to the mounting case against cellular phone usage, while pointing future research down a new path. For example, a potential new research stud could analyse the saliva of the user before and after several minutes of cell phone use. Dr. Hamzany, the author of the TAU study, said that this would help show if there really was an immediate response to the emissions shown by a rise in oxidative stress.
Ironically, as the evidence builds up on the harmful effects of cell phones, so does the number of people using them.