Image above from Yale Scientific
An Italian court has ruled in a favor of a 57 year old employee who alleged his work related cell phone use was linked to his brain tumor. Roberto Romero worked for Telecom Italia, whom he did not name in the suit, and used his work-issued cell phone for 3-4 hours a day for 15 years. He developed a benign tumor that affected his hearing, which could have been an acoustic neuroma. Romero sued the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority for disability payments and won based on his 23% impairment, totaling roughly $7000 a year.
This is not the first time a link between cell phone radiation and brain tumors has been recognized in a legal system. In 2012 the Supreme Court in Italy recognized the link in a similar case that involved a sales manager who was on a cell phone 5-6 hours a day.
Last updated 4/21/17
What do cell phones emit?
Cell phones emit radio waves. These are a form of non-ionizing radiation that provides an energy source through radio frequency. Ionizing radiation is emitted by xrays, cosmic rays, and radon, and have been linked to cancer as it s a high frequency, high energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV light, infrared, and lasers. Although UV radiation may cause skin cancer, the other sources are deemed less dangerous than their ionizing radiation counterparts.
Can cell phone use cause cancer?
One of the more recent studies unveiled in May of 2016 reported cell phone radiation caused brain tumors in mice. Rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation for 7-9 hours a day, seven days a week, were more prone to develop the malignant gliomas as well has tumors in the heart. This study was not intended to be translated to human risk, but of course it made headlines and scared us silly.
Prior to this, in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
However, multiple studies have been done, as descriptively outlined by the National Cancer Institute, and are assuring us that there is no imminent danger by our daily use of cell phones. The NCI also provides recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and FCC stating not enough evidence exists to establish a link between cell phones and cancer.
Can cell phone radiation injure our body’s cells?
Although arguments continue over cell phone radiation causing cancer, it has been proven that heat is given off. Many people complain their ear gets hot after lengthy cell phone use and studies have yet to determine if cell phone heat can cause oncogenic changes in cells. They’ve studied if the radiation affects metabolic activity, and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found visible brain activity changes on the side the cell phone was being used. They recommended after this study keeping the cell phone away from the body and using a lower radiation emitting phone.
So now what?
We wait and see. My suggestion is to not overdo it with our phones. Use the speaker setting when practical so as to not consistently hug the phone to your skull. Take breaks in between lengthy calls. Text when appropriate to minimize exposure as well.
Or do what I do when I talk to my mother, hold the phone 3 feet away from my head. I can still hear her…..just fine……