Fact Or Fallacy: Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer?


cellphones and brain healthWe now live in an age where we are surrounded by technology no matter where we go. Even when we get inside a vehicle these days it can have LCD screens, which emit low level radiation, and Bluetooth which transmits over the airwaves. Both of these have shown themselves over the years to be pretty safe, even if you spent your whole life sitting in front of an LCD screen it would be unlikely to be a health risk (except for the lack of exercise, and no, I’m not recommending it!).

However, one piece of technology that has been in the news a lot over the last fifteen years about whether it is safe or not is the cell phone.

Cell phones work by broadcasting in the microwave spectrum, and so this makes people instantly think of what their microwave does to a chicken. However, the microwave spectrum is quite wide and so different parts interact with the environment in different ways. A microwave oven uses the high energy part of the spectrum, and is also targeted to one specific point. Whereas the part of the spectrum that mobile phones use is low powered and dispersed over a wide area. Although cell phones are designed to lock onto the nearest mast, they do not target the signal at it (they don’t really know which direction it is anyway).

Due to the fact that they use microwaves, it has led to a lot of people believing that cell phones can cause brain cancer. This is because they are often held to the ear, and so by linking the signal to microwave ovens, people concluded that they must be cooking their brain in some way, and that in turn results in brain cancer. This was not resolved either way in the early days (a bit like the early debate over organic food) when cell phones became popular, as a lot of research papers were simply inconclusive.

With cell phones now so prevalent in society, with well over a billion in use around the world, research has been much easier for the science community to carry out, as every demographic now owns one. Regardless of how the data is looked at, there is no evidence relating cell phone use to brain cancer. Research has even been carried out on the cell phone masts, often located on school buildings, but again, the conclusion is that no link exists between them and brain cancer.

Maybe long term use will start to show different results, but I suspect we are at far more risk from the mild stress caused by constant social media apps nagging us on our devices. And poor quality sleep this causes for those that sleep next to their phones. Tip: at the very least, put your phone on flight mode before you go to sleep.