Overuse of cellphones by children and teenagers may land them in an epidemic of brain cancer in later life. Children and teenagers have a five times greater chance of suffering from brain cancer because of their use of wireless mobile devices.
Right now, out of 10 6-year-olds, atleast 9 have a cell phone and more than 40% of primary school children also possess their very own handsets. It has been stated by scientists that excessive use of cell phones will have long term consequences. This may lead to a tumor growth in the brain at a level and frequency that is most extraordinary.
The official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme admits that the risks of cancer among young ones from using cell phones is of the highest priority. However, these dangers to the young have been omitted from the investigation. The World Health Organization called for a reduction in cell phone use by its owners because of its health dangers.
Even though the recommendations of an official report call for a reduction in the use of cell phones by young ones, the Government hasn’t done much in this regard. Strict limits for exposure to radiation emitted from cell phones and wireless phones, WiFi and other devices have been brought from ministers across Europe so that children are no longer affected by them. Children are vulnerable to such radiations because their brains and nervous system are in the development process. Their small heads and thinner skulls allow the radiation to penetrate deeper into their brains.
Many studies have been conducted on radio frequency radiation and its effects on brain by Dr. Leif Salford, a neurosurgeon and a researcher. He found the implications of his research shocking. One of the conclusions was that a leakage in the blood brain barrier was a probable effect of exposure to weak levels of wireless radiation. Dr. Leif Salford, since he began his research in 1988, has along with his colleagues at Lund University Hospital in Sweden, exposed more than 1600 experimental animals to low levels of radiation. The results showed that the radiation led the blood brain barrier (that helps the brain provide protection from infections and toxic chemicals) to leak.
With the help of the analysis of data gathered from a study on cancer risks due to radiation, headed by Professor Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, a Swedish research was reported at the first international conference on cell phones and health. In the conference that was held at the Royal Society by the Radiation Research Trust, Professor Hardell told that there were five times greater chances for those people to get glioma who started using mobiles at an age earlier than 20. There were four times greater chances for young people who use cordless phones to get this disease. He also reported that people who started using cell phones young are five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas. These benign tumours disable the auditory nerve, eventually causing deafness.
“We should all take precautions as this is a worrisome issue. Children under 12 years of age should only use mobiles in emergencies and teenagers should rather text message and use earphones. The brain is fully developed at 20, so the danger is greatly reduced at this age. Cell phone use could be more hazardous to children and teenagers than my studies suggest because they do not account for the effects of using cell phones for several years. It takes many years for various cancers to develop,” Professor Hardell told the IoS.
According to the research, adults who have used mobiles for more than 10 years have greater chances of contracting glioma and acoustic neuromas. However, there is not enough evidence to tell how long term use increases the risk for those who had started young. Professor Hardell requires more research in this area but the MTHR study, which will follow 90,000 residents of Britain, will not look into the risks to children.
The chairman of the programmes management committee, Professor David Coggon, told that other researches were being conducted on young people such as, Sweden’s Kariolinska Institute’s study, which is why children were not included.He said, “It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use in childhood”
The dean of School of Public Health at the State University of New York, David Carpenter said, “Children are spending significant time on mobile phones. We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use.”
According to an article on cell phone safety published online in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, mobile phones that are kept in the pockets of shirts or pants surpass the exposure guidelines of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Also, microwave radiation absorbed by children is twice more than that absorbed by the adults.
When the microwave radiation from phones was evaluated through industry-design process, it was found that compared to adults, children absorbed two times more radiation in their brains, thrice in the brain’s hypothalamus and hippocampus, 10 times greater absorption in the bone marrow and a high rate of absorption in the eyes.
Kids with behavioural problems are one of the negative outcomes of pregnant women using cell phones, as revealed by research. This behavioural problem is likely to be inevitable if the kids start using phones at an early age. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health say that using mobiles for even under an hour is likely to cause the brain activity to accelerate when being in the area where phone antenna is located. This raises concerns about how low levels of radiation from phones will affect health.
The fact that weak radio frequency signals from mobile phones are able to alter brain activity was first recognized by the study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Volkow said, “The importance of this study comes from the understanding of the sensitivity of human brain to the electromagnetic radiation. It shows why future studies are important to know whether repeated cell phone use over 5, 10 or 15 years has long term consequences.”