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Cell Phones & Cancer

Tue, 08/06/2013 - 1:23pm
Meaghan Ziemba, Editor, WDD

About nine months ago, after years of struggling and prolonged lecturing from my family (particularly my daughter) and doctor; and the overload of statistical information, creepy commercials, and high taxes, I was able to give up smoking. I do have to admit, I still would like to light one up at times, but the thought of lung cancer and dying a slow agonizing death is helping me keep the cigarette demons at bay.

But just when I thought I was safe and decreasing my chances of getting cancer, a new Tel Aviv University (TAU) study shattered my enthusiasm.

According to a TAU researcher, saliva from heavy cell phone users shows increased risk factors for cancer.  So, what exactly does that mean? As the article states, “Since the cell phone is placed close to the salivary gland when in use, [the research team] hypothesized that salivary content could reveal whether there was a connection to developing cancer.” When the team compared heavy mobile phone users to non-users, “they found that the saliva of heavy users showed indications of higher oxidative stress — a process that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA — through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals. More importantly, it is considered a major risk factor for cancer.”

Although the research didn’t provide a conclusive “cause and effect” between cell phone use and cancer, it did suggest that prolonged use of cell phones could be harmful in the long run due to the radiofrequency non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

How are consumers supposed to process this information, especially when everyone lives through their mobile devices? People are falling in water fountains and manholes, because they simply can’t put their phones away. They won’t ever put them down after recovering from their injuries.

As a community who thrives and is simply obsessed with digital communication, inconclusive “cause and effect” results are not enough to sway consumers from putting down their mobile devices. Saying that something “could” versus that it “does” cause some unwanted traumatic side effect or disease provides enough ambiguity that some of us don’t mind tip-toeing around the risk.

Personally, while I enjoy the scientific experiment, I am utterly annoyed with the attempted scare tactic that the article presents. From an individual who is unsuccessful with organization and keeping track of dates, I require more substantial results for me to consider giving up the device that glues my work and personal life together.

What are your thoughts about this recent study? Are cellphones a danger to our health? Share your comments below or email them to me at meaghan.ziemba@advantagemedia.com.

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