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From the Executive Summary
Cell Phone Radiation Science Review
More than 4 billion people around the world use cell phones (ITU 2009). Because cell phone technology has been
around for just two decades, scientists do not yet fully understand long-term health risks from cell phone radiation.
But recent research has prompted serious concerns about exposure to wireless emissions.
Prior to 2003, studies of cancer risk and cell phone
use produced conflicting results. FDA told consumers
that scientists had found no harmful health effects
from exposure to cell phone emissions. (FDA 2003).
But FDA's assurances were based on studies of
people who had used cell phones for just 3 years, on
an average (FDA 2003), not long enough to develop
cancer. At that time, studies had not addressed the
risks of longer-term exposures.
The research gap is closing. Scientists around the
world have recently associated serious health
problems with using cell phones for 10 years or
A joint study by researchers in Denmark,
Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United
Kingdom found that people who had used cell
phones for more than 10 years had a
significantly increased risk of developing
glioma, a usually malignant brain tumor, on the
side of the head they had favored for cell
phone conversations (International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2008; Lahkola 2007).
French and German scientists reported an increased risk of glioma for long-term cell phone users (Hours
2007; Schuz, Bohler, Berg 2006). Analysis of all published cell phone-brain tumor studies found that people
who had used a cell phone for 10 or more years, the overall risk for developing a glioma on the cell phone
side of the head increased by 90 percent (Hardell 2009; Kundi 2009).
Cell phone use for 10 years and longer has been also associated with significantly increased risk of
acoustic neuroma, a type of benign brain tumor, on the primary side of cell phone use (IARC 2008;
Schoemaker 2005). An extensive review of published studies of acoustic neuroma found that long-term cell
phone users had a 60 percent greater risk of being diagnosed with the disease (Hardell 2009; Kundi 2009).
A study from Israel reported an association between frequent and prolonged mobile phone use and parotid
(salivary) gland tumors (Sadetzki 2008). Scientists analyzing data from Sweden and Denmark combined
found that people who had used cell phones for at least 10 years ran an increased risk of benign parotid
gland tumors (IARC 2008; Lonn 2006).
Multiple studies reported that the brains of young children absorb more radiation than those of adults (de
Salles 2006; Gandhi 1996; Kang 2002; Martinez-Burdalo 2004; Wang 2003; Wiart 2008), potentially
rendering them more vulnerable to brain tumors (NRC 2008b). Researchers in Sweden found the highest
risk of brain tumors among people who started using cell phones during adolescence (Hardell 2009).
Scientists have known for decades that high doses of the radiofrequency radiation emitted by cell phones can
penetrate the body, heat tissues, trigger behavioral problems and damage sensitive tissues like the eyeball and
testicle (Heynick 2003; IEEE 2006).
Recent studies link cell phone radiation to:
Brain cancer: Two analyses of 25 original publications
identified a 50 to 90 percent increase in risk for two types
of brain tumors: glioma and acoustic neuroma (Hardell
2009, Kundi 2009).
Salivary gland tumors: An Israeli study found an
increased risk of 50 to 60 percent for salivary gland
tumors among people with highest cell phone use
Behavioral problems: A study of 13,159 Danish children
showed 80 percent elevated risk for emotional and
hyperactivity problems among young children who use
cell phones and whose mothers also used cell phones
during pregnancy (Divan 2008).
Migraines and vertigo: A study of 420,095 Danish adults
showed that long-term cell phone users were 10 to 20
percent more likely to be hospitalized for migraines and
vertigo than people who took up cell phones more
recently. (Schuz 2009).
Yet when cell phones went on the market in the 1980s, federal regulators did not require manufacturers to prove
they were safe (GAO 1994).
Recent studies raise particular concerns about the impact of cell phone emissions on children. The National
Research Council (NRC) has observed that "with the rapid advances in technologies and communications utilizing
[radiation in the range of cell phone frequencies], children are increasingly exposed... at earlier ages (starting at
age 6 or before)" (NRC 2008b). The NRC called for "investigation of the potential effects of RF fields in the
development of childhood brain tumor" (NRC 2008b).
Research by France Telecom scientists showed that under standard conditions of use, twice as much cell
phone radiation would penetrate a childĘs thinner, softer skull than an adultĘs (Wiart 2008). These results
confirm earlier findings that childrenĘs heads absorb more radiofrequency radiation than adults (Gandhi
1996; Kang 2002; Wang 2003).
Children will be exposed to cell phone radiation for more years and therefore in greater total amounts than
the current generation of adults (NRC 2008b).
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