While cell phones have improved our lives in countless ways, they also have some negative effects. One of the more serious concerns around the increased use of mobile devices over the years has been the fear that the radiofrequency waves that make your phone work could raise your risk of cancer. While experts have been split on whether or not cell phones pose a substantial risk, a recent study found evidence that suggests they could—especially if you’re on your phone a lot. Read on to find out exactly how many minutes of phone use a day could make your chances of developing cancer soar.
A study out of the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health in conjunction with Korea’s National Cancer Center and Seoul National University found evidence that suggests phone use is linked with an increased risk of tumors, especially brain tumors. According to the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, using your cell phone to make calls for more than 1,000 hours—or about 17 minutes per day over a 10-year period—increased your risk of getting a tumor by 60 percent.
“Cell phone use highlights a host of public health issues, and it has received little attention in the scientific community, unfortunately,” study lead author Joel Moskowitz, PhD, said in a statement. Moskowitz is passionate about getting to the bottom of the risk of the radiation that comes from phones as well as cell towers, and he’s been researching this topic since 2009. He said that after publishing research, he was contacted by survivors of cell phone radiation “begging” him “to stay on the topic.”
Per the American Cancer Society (ACS), the reason the safety of cell phone use is in question is because cell phones give off radiofrequency waves, which can cause radiation. ACS points out that the main concern is that these waves could increase your risk of brain tumors or other tumors in the head and neck region, since this is where your phone tends to sit while making a call.
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In addition to the potential for an increased risk of cancer, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) also points out a handful of other possible risks that come with phone use. According to the CDPH, long-term high use of cell phones could result in “lower sperm counts and inactive or less mobile sperm.” Additionally, phone use could negatively affect learning, memory, hearing, behavior, and sleep, and also lead to headaches.