It’s baaaaaack: the idea that cell phones may boost your risk of brain cancer. But who knows, maybe this time it’s true?
A new study in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine links long-term exposure to radiation from cell phones to a higher risk of specific brain cancers, particularly when the phone is held against the ear.
The mega-study—a statistical analysis of hundreds of studies on low-intensity radio frequency radiation (LIRF) and cell phone use—was conducted by scientists in Kiev and “revealed consistent patterns not seen in single studies,” says team leader Igor Yakymenko.
“We saw that ‘heavy users’ were at three to five times higher risk for brain cancer and tumors of the acoustic nerve,” he says. The study defined “heavy user” as someone who uses a cell more than 20 minutes a day for five to 10 years—so, like, everybody. Yet, Yakymenko conceded, the incidence of brain cancer in adults is just 6.4 per 100,000.
Even so, “the less exposure the better,” he warns. “Reduce call times, go hands-free when possible, and consider your landline”—those must still be big in Ukraine—“as an alternative.”