Did you hear that? It’s cellphone companies breathing a sigh of relief after a study takes them off the hook for raising the cancer risk in their consumers, temporarily. The study is news because it’s the first study to the look at the cellphone-cancer link in children, specifically.
According to USA Today the study’s authors compared the cellphone habits of nearly 1,000 children in Western Europe, including 352 with brain tumors and 646 without. Kids who used cellphones were no more likely to develop a brain tumor than others, according to the study of children ages 7 to 19, published online Wednesday in the Journal of theNational Cancer Institute.
The reassuring study claims that children who used cellphones for over five years showed no increase in tumor growth, yet there was tumor growth in a segment of children that purchased their cellphones over 2.8 years ago. Those results are typical. Go figure
Researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute were quick to point out:
[T]his energy — unlike the radiation given off by X-rays or CT scans — isn’t strong enough to damage DNA, cause mutations and lead to cancer. And while many people are concerned about cellphones, no one has ever come up with a way to explain how the devices might cause cancer, says Martha Linet, a doctor with the National Cancer Institute.
Concerns about cellphones were renewed last month, when a branch of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reversed its previous position. In the past, the agency had said there was “no conclusive evidence” linking cellphones to brain tumors. Now, the agency classifies cellphones as “possibly carcinogenic” based on “limited evidence,” acknowledging that the few links between cellphones and cancer could be due to chance.
Now that cellphones don’t pose an immediate risk to children, maybe researchers can concentrate on the obvious external health risks of cellphone use–rudeness in public spaces, which may lead to high blood pressure in people trying to take the cellphone user’s order; diverted attention from driving, possibly causing life threatening accidents; the potential increase in adolescent carpal tunnel as result of constant texting. Just a thought.