I am not a doctor although I play one on TV. (Just kidding) But I am a long-time project manager and I know very well how to get important information, statistics, and vital facts pertaining to a subject.
Being a Stage 4 Throat Cancer Survivor, I can tell you as we research cell phones, cell phone accessories, and headphones that we don’t want any more risk with cancer from radiofrequency radiation exposure caused by electronic devices.
When I got Stage IV Oropharyngeal Throat Cancer I went to literal “Cancer School” because just to understand the name of that cancer you have to look it up. Then a doctor who pulled a Kiwi fruit size Lymph Node out of my neck with cancer cells in it. He then told me he was “Indifferent about doing further investigation.”
Because I live in this great country of the United States of America, the news so far is the more I study scientific evidence, and read all of the information out there on a weekly basis. The more I have to decide what I believe between the big Cell Phone Corporations, their Lobbyists and the Scientific Community. What I learned from going to “Cancer School” Is you have to do your own research or you will die.
I find with Cancer Risk from Cell Phones, Cell Phone Accessories, and Headphones that at this point in history they cannot conclusively prove that they can give you cancer but that doesn’t mean don’t take care of yourself.
How do you get through the mountains of data and get to the truth? We have tried to synopsize or epitomize for brevity this throughout the following article as much as possible.
So can Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation cause Cancer?
The answer is yes, it depends, and more research is needed.
A few cancer statistics according to www.cancer.gov:
- Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide.
- In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease.
- Cancer mortality is higher among men than women
- In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States.
- The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030.
It Starts with Research
If you own a cell phone and a pair of earphones then you may want to know this information. When we were researching a few weeks ago the blog about “10 Interesting Women’s Cell Phone Articles From 10 Pages On Google?” the fourth (4th) most popular article that came up on our Google search was the National Cancer Institutes or Cancer.Gov article “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” and the list below.
The following questions and answers are from the National Cancer Institutes or Cancer.Gov article “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk”.
- Why is there concern that cell phones may cause cancer or other health problems?
- Cell phones emit radiofrequency radiation.
- What is radiofrequency radiation and how does it affect the human body?
- Radiofrequency radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. The human body absorbs energy from devices that emit radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and it causes heat to the Human Body.
- How is radiofrequency radiation exposure measured in epidemiologic studies?
- By several sources, including questionnaires and data from cell phone service providers and users through Experimental, Observational cohort, Observational case-control, Observational cross-sectional epidemiologic studies.
- What has epidemiologic research shown about the association between cell phone use and cancer risk?
- Epidemiology studies investigating cell phone use patterns with human cancer risk have produced inconsistent results.
- What are the findings from experimental studies?
- Cell phone use patterns with human cancer risk have produced inconsistent results.
- Why are the findings from different studies of cell phone use and cancer risk inconsistent?
- Recall bias, Inaccurate reporting, Morbidity and mortality, Participation bias, Changing technology and methods of use.
- What are the other possible health effects of cell phone use?
- The most consistent health risk associated with cell phone use is distracted driving and vehicle accidents
- What have expert organizations said about the cancer risk from cell phone use?
- IARC, ACS, NIEHS, FDA, CDC, FCC, and the ECSC have all commented in the last 7 years and concludes that currently, no scientific evidence establishes a definite link between a cell phone or wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.
- What studies are underway that will help further our understanding of the possible health effects of cell phone use?
- COSMOS or Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health is one example.
- Has radiofrequency radiation from cell phone use been associated with cancer risk in children?
- Data from studies in children with cancer do not support this theory.
- What can cell phone users do to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency radiation?
- Reserve the use of cell phones for shorter conversations or for times when a landline phone is not available.
- Use a device with hands-free technology, such as wired headsets, which place more distance between the phone and the head of the user.
- Where can I find more information about radiofrequency radiation from my cell phone?
- Consumers can access this information using the phone’s FCC ID number, which is usually located on the case of the phone, and the FCC’s ID search form.
- How common is brain cancer? Has the incidence of brain cancer changed over time?
- In the United States, 23,820 new diagnoses and 17,760 deaths from brain and other central nervous system cancers are estimated for 2019. Brain cancer incidence rates have declined slightly in recent years and mortality (death) rates have increased slightly.
Interesting Article from the EWG, Environmental Working Group
The EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. In an article dated 8-23-13 “EWG’S GUIDE TO SAFER CELL PHONE USE: CELL PHONE RADIATION ALTERS BRAIN ACTIVITY” is an extremely interesting and important article that shows some very intriguing pictures, information, and statistics from a JAMA Article and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow; Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism.
Brain activity accelerates near cell phone antenna
Volunteer’s brain scans, normal (LEFT) and after 50 minutes with an active cell phone on the right ear, (RIGHT) show increased metabolic activity near the phone’s antenna. (ARROW) A team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, used advanced imaging technology to monitor glucose consumed in the brain. Conclusion: weak cell phone emissions visibly changed brain activity. More studies are needed to determine health implications. Image source: JAMA
From the Jama Website Article Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism: In summary, this study provides evidence that in humans RF-EMF exposure from cell phone use affects brain function, as shown by the regional increases in metabolic activity. It also documents that the observed effects were greatest in brain regions that had the highest amplitude of RF-EMF emissions (for the specific cell phones used in this study and their position relative to the head when in use), which suggests that the metabolic increases are secondary to the absorption of RF-EMF energy emitted by the cell phone. Further studies are needed to assess if these effects could have potential long-term harmful consequences.
As we continue to search for many of our other blogs we keep running across the same information and keep finding the common denominator is the data is inconclusive. Human’s usually have an agenda and whatever you believe you have to look out for yourself.
- Dr. Alex Berezow a microbiologist and senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health, says “It is physically impossible for cell phones, Wi-Fi, and other similar devices to cause cancer… There isn’t enough energy there to do anything to the human body.” The photons of microwave radiation (which is the type of radiation cell phones emit) do not have enough energy to break chemical bonds, which is necessary to cause the DNA mutations that lead to cancer. Furthermore, cell phones operate at a measly 1 watt (compared to, say, microwaves that operate at 1,000 watts).
Most Quoted Articles and Information
- The most quoted article we found is from the (NTP) National Toxicology Program in 2016. But that research. A $25 million dollar 10-year government study on Rodents left a lot of questions unanswered. How relevant are these findings to Bluetooth technology today especially since the research was designed in the early 2000s?
- “NTP conducted toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to RFR like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones. “
- The study exposed the entire bodies of the animals to Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation for nine hours a day for two years. The rodents were exposed to cell phone frequencies used in 2G and 3G cell phones which are still used in the world but newer 4G phones use less power and we are soon moving to 5G.
- Nearly 95% of the current articles out there in reference to Cell Phone Radiation and Cancer quote this article. Unfortunately depending how much paranoia generation the writer is looking for from their headline talks about this study and cancer it caused in male rats’ hearts.
The Report – Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposures)
What did the studies find?
The NTP studies found that high exposure to RFR used by cell phones was associated with:
- Clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats. The tumors were malignant schwannomas.
- Some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats. The tumors were malignant gliomas.
- Some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The tumors were benign, malignant, or complex combined pheochromocytoma.
Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values and testing
The internationally accepted standard for measuring radio frequency absorption by human tissue is Specific Absorption Rate or SAR. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued exposure limit guidelines for all mobile phone transmissions, which, based on the scientific evidence presently available, incorporate significant margins of safety to ensure the health of the general public. All mobile phones sold in the United States must comply with the FCC’s standard of a SAR reading of 1.6 watts per kilogram or less.
What SAR Shows
- The FCC requires that cell phone manufacturers conduct their SAR testing to include the most severe, worst-case (and highest power) operating conditions for all the frequency bands used in the USA for that cell phone. But it does not indicate the amount of RF exposure consumers experience during normal use of the device.
What SAR Does Not Show
- The SAR value used for FCC approval does not account for the multitude of measurements taken during the testing. Moreover, cell phones constantly vary their power to operate at the minimum power necessary for communications; operation at maximum power occurs infrequently. Consequently, cell phones cannot be reliably compared for their overall exposure characteristics on the basis of a single SAR value.
Apple breaks down RF and SAR Exposure by device
iPhone XR RF Exposure Information:
- iPhone has been tested and meets applicable limits for radio frequency (RF) exposure.
- Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) refers to the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. The SAR limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram in countries that set the limit averaged over 1 gram of tissue and 2.0 watts per kilogram in countries that set the limit averaged over 10 grams of tissue. During testing, iPhone radios are set to their highest transmission levels and placed in positions that simulate uses against the head, with no separation, and when worn or carried against the torso of the body, with 5mm separation.
- To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories. Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified.
- Although this device has been tested to determine SAR in each band of operation, not all bands are available in all areas. Bands are dependent on your service provider’s wireless and roaming networks.
- The highest SAR values are as follows:
- Model A2105, A2108
- 6 W/kg (over 1 g) SAR Limit
- 0 W/kg (over 10 g) SAR LimitHead: 0.99
- 6 W/kg (over 1 g) SAR Limit
- Model A2105, A2108
iPod RF Exposure information
- iPod has been tested and meets applicable limits for radio frequency (RF) exposure.
- Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) refers to the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. The SAR limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram in countries that set the limit averaged over 1 gram of tissue and 2.0 watts per kilogram in countries that set the limit averaged over 10 grams of tissue. During testing, iPod radios are set to their highest transmission levels and placed in positions that simulate use against the body.
- Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified.
- The highest SAR values are as follows:
- Model A1574
- 6 W/kg (over 1 g) SAR Limit
- Body: 1.190
- 0 W/kg (over 10 g) SAR Limit
- Body: 0.931
- Model A1574
How to reduce risk from Cell Phone RFR?
- One way to reduce potential risk from Cell Phones is to use Bluetooth headphones rather than holding the phone next to your ear.
- Use a speakerphone or Wireless Bluetooth headset whenever you can. An even more effective strategy is to use the device’s speaker, which allows you to hold the phone away from the body entirely.
- Be skeptical about RFR shields or other devices that claim to reduce your RFR exposure. Some do work.
- Keep your Cell Phone away from your bed before you go to sleep
- Don’t wear your Head Phones when you are not listening to music taking a call.
- Carry your Cell Phone as far away from your body and head as possible.
- Try to avoid using your Cell Phone when you have a weak signal.
- Put your Smartphone on Airplane Mode.
- Take a break and turn off your Cell Phone whenever you can.
- Don’t use your Cell Phone so often.
- Push for more clear labeling and information about RFR exposure on Cell Phone products.
Headphones and their role in Cancer Risk.
One way to reduce potential risk from Cell Phones is to use Bluetooth headphones rather than holding the phone next to your ear.
As discussed above as you talk on your Cell Phone and have it next to your ear, your head, and brain absorb a small amount of Radio Frequency Radiation. The amount of exposure falls off greatly with distance and headphones put distance between your head and your Cell Phone but it does not keep the cell phone away from your body because now it is probably in your pocket.
- Wired Headphones
- Wired headphones fit in or on your ear, and connects to your Cell Phone by a wired cable. These wires do produce radiofrequency radiation, as does any wire that carries an electric current. According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health “The measurements showed that the SAR in the head when using a wired headset is 8-20 times lower than when making calls holding the phone to the ear”. The radiation from wired headphones is much weaker than the radio signal the cell phone produces and results in weak radio waves at audio frequencies and are difficult to detect even with sophisticated sensitive measuring equipment.
- Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are a headset that provides a two-way connection to the user’s cellphone via a wireless Bluetooth signal. Also according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, they investigated two sets of Bluetooth headsets and “they had specific absorption rates of 0.001 and 0.003 W/kg, which is 34 and 12 times lower than the SAR of the lowest-emission mobile phone currently available. With Bluetooth headsets, radiation exposure to the head is not determined by the position of the phone. It, therefore, makes more sense to hold the phone away from the body, since this reduces both the output power and Radiation exposure to the body.” The exact SAR reduction depends on the accessory itself and the conditions under which it is used.
So for me, this is personal as I have in so many ways been the average person utilizing these tools in my life every day and so do our customers, family and friends. I use a Cell Phone all of the time and Wireless Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones almost every other day of the week.
My conclusion from this article is that they have not been able to prove that Cell Phones and the associated Cell Phone Accessories Cause cancer yet. But they can see that it affects your body and they can see from PET Scans that it affects the Physiology of the brain as shown above.
Radiofrequency Radiation is cumulative in the body and if you have a cell phone in your pocket or hip or your bra for 30 years which we have not seen yet there may be still correlations that they can identify. Hopefully not and the technology will just keep getting better like it does every day.