Since the advent of the cell phone, scientists and researchers have repeatedly asked one concerning question: Could cell phone use be a health risk? In an age of rampant technology and instantaneous connection, people carry their smartphones on their person for most hours in the day. If they are not in our pockets, at our ears, or in our hands, they are almost always within arm’s reach. Though American scientists have delved into studies that look at the effects of our cellphone use, the truth of the matter is that we do not have conclusive evidence that suggests our reliance and proximity to our smartphones is not harmful.
Mobile phones are known to emit non-ionizing radiation, measured in radio-frequency (RF) energy. It is widely accepted that exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation, like the kind associated with x-rays, CT scans, and nuclear power plants, causes cancer, yet it remains unknown whether long-term exposure to non-ionizing radiation could cause cancer in the human body.
The US’s National Toxicology Program recently released the final results of two much-anticipated studies, one conducted on mice and another, on rats, which each exposed the animals to cell phone radiation at or above the US’s legal limit for a period of two years. The studies are part of a larger $25 million federal effort by the US government to assess the health risk of using cell phones.
The recent studies found that, in male rats, exposure increased malignant tumor occurrences, raised the animal’s risk of heart conditions and ultimately led to evidence of DNA damage. Baby rats birthed by mothers during the trial had lower birth weights. There was also a statistically significant increase in lymphoma among the female mice and heightened rates of liver cancer in the male mice. Though studies done on animals can never truly replicate the possible effects on the human body, many have found the results worthy of concern. It remains to be seen how a lifetime of cell phone use, especially from early years of development, might truly affect our brains and bodies.