A malignant threat from our mobiles
Could our universal communicator we can't live without be a threat to our lives?
As most readers will know only too well, we are slowly seeing a shift from a desktop/internet paradigm to one which is wholly more mobile. That's thanks to the latest generation of phones with big screens, powerful processors and the ability to perform tasks on a device that's small enough to fit in your pocket. But therein lies the problem... perhaps. As we get used to the mobile web, email and having 24/7 access to our contacts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking service, our time spent using these gadgets is actually increasing. That may turn out to be a real problem and it's not from the increased likelihood of myopia. The issue lies around fairly long-term scientific studies which have been carried out into the suggestion that the radiation given off by phones could cause an increase in the incidence of certain cancers; possibly from tissue heating when you place a phone against your head. On a recent report from the US show Living On Earth the host asked Dr. David Carpenter of the Institute for Health and Environmental Safety at the University at Albany about his suggestion that evidence is beginning to build for saying that radio frequency radiation might be a health problem. As Dr. Carpenter told the show, "Cell phones use basically microwaves, it's the same kind of radiation that cooks your potato in the oven, and you don't really want to cook your brain while you're talking on your cell phone." He added, "There's increasingly strong evidence that adults that have used a cell phone intensively for ten or more years are at significantly greater risk of getting a brain tumour, but only on the side of the head where they use the cell phone. And some evidence for cancer of the salivary gland that's in the cheek." He also cited higher threats to people using mobiles if use started below the age of 20, with a five-fold increase over those of people using mobiles in adulthood. And, as if that wasn't enough to make us pay attention, he then highlighted another piece of research which suggests that prostrate cancer is higher in men using mobiles. Could that be something to do with putting your phone in your pocket? Hmmm. Anyway, at the moment there is no clear incontestable evidence that there is a causal link between using a mobile and getting brain or other cancers, but that doesn't mean, however much you love your phone, that you shouldn't put it in your bag or rucksack and use an earpiece or bluetooth headset... just in case! You can hear the full report here [MP3].