Cell Phone Dangers

Tools

By Kathy Allen

Cell phones are everywhere. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the Western world uses cell phones. Some recent estimates show that more than 3 billion people have cell phones worldwide. As the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, its usage will likely increase among adults and children. While the device is undoubtedly convenient, several new studies show that cell phones may be harmful.

CANCER LINK? A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found heavy cell phone users were subject to a higher risk of benign and malignant tumors of the salivary gland. Those who used a cell phone heavily on the side of the head where the tumor developed were found to have an increased risk of about 50 percent for developing a tumor of the main salivary gland compared to those who did not use cell phones.

FERTILITY PROBLEMS: A study conducted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found cell phone use may be linked to infertility problems. Men who used their cell phones for more than four hours per day had the lowest quality of sperm.

SKIN ISSUES: Nickel allergy is common, and people who are allergic to nickel may get a rash on their cheek or ear if they spend a lot of time talking on a cell phone containing nickel. They might also get a rash on their fingers if they send lots of text messages, according to the British Association of Dermatologists. Not all cell phones contain nickel. Recently, researchers at Brown University tested 22 wireless communication devices and found 10 of them contained nickel.

AFFECTING SLEEP: Researchers at Loughborough University in England found that after a 30-minute exposure to cell phone signals in talk mode, people took nearly twice as long to fall asleep as they did when the phone had been off or in standby mode. The scientists believe the effect probably reflects the time it takes the brain to relax after being agitated by the phone's electrical field.

LIMITING USAGE: Experts from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute suggest limiting cell phone exposure. Some of their tips include not allowing children to use a cell phone, except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. They also suggest keeping your cell phone away from your body as much as possible, avoiding using your cell phones in places like on a bus where you can passively expose others to your phone's electromagnetic field and switching sides regularly while communicating on your cell phone to spread out your exposure.

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