A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies cell phones as a possible carcinogen in the same category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries in the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, made the determination that cell phone exposure was “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The team, which included scientists from the U.S., reached their conclusion after reviewing dozens of studies.
“The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences,” Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told CNN.
“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones,” he added.
In a study released earlier this year, researchers found a seven percent energy increase in brain tissue closest to the cell phone’s antenna when subjects used the phone for more than 50 minutes.
Several cell phone manufacturers warn consumers against putting the device too close to the body.
“When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body,” Apple’s iPhone 4 manual advises.
The Blackberry Bold manual instructs users to “keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. (25 mm) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.”