One of the early fears around mobile phone use was that holding an emitter of electro-magnetic radiation in close proximity to one’s head might cause long term health issues. There’s been a lot of fear mongering on the topic, though the evidence doesn’t really seem to have been there to support it. A new study out of Sydney, though, has thrown cold water on those fears.

We’ve long worried that mobile phones could be leading us to health issues, with concern that regular exposure to any form of radiation could be harmful. While the short term effects of non-ionising radiation are relatively well known, the longer term effects were a little unknown, and thus the concern. At close range, exposure to electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) in the range that we’d typically experience from mobiles — between 700 MHz and 2.1 GHz — has little effect beyond some heating of body tissue. Having said this, though, the sensation of warm ears after a long phone call is much less likely caused by EMR than it is simply holding a warm electronic device to your ear with minimal air currents. But we digress.

Sydney University professor Simon Chapman has been involved in conducting this study, and the results should be reassuring for many. In short, Chapman and his team ‘examined the association between age and gender-specific incidence rates of 19,858 men and 14,222 women diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982 and 2012, and national mobile phone usage data from 1987 to 2012’.

Their findings are pretty reliable. With extremely high proportions of the population having used mobile phones across the 20-odd years of the study period, the findings showed only slight increases in age-adjusted brain cancer incidence in males (aged 20 to 84 years), and no increase at all for females.

There’s more to this study, which you should read on The Conversation, but the take-out is clear; EMR from mobile phone use hasn’t been shown to cause any significant increase in the incidence of brain cancer over the last thirty years, and that isn’t likely to change.

This is a fascinating read, and we’d encourage you to read the full story at The Conversation.

Source: The Conversation.
Thanks: Myk Dowling.
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    Darren Ferguson

    As phones don’t emit ionising radiation this is hardly surprising. Hopefully some of the naysayers will take notice of this as well.

    Next up, do wind turbines cause brain cancer?


    Well said, Darren; everyone thinks that radiation is radiation. Few understand the difference between ionising and non-ionising radiation. I learned about this when I went to a training course attended by someone from ANSTO; I remember what she was saying moreso than the course content itself.

    Adam J

    Anecdotally, I understand 3G/4G requires less power output than older 2G. Which would mean that mobiles supposedly became ‘less risky’ to use as coverage increased and antennas became more advanced (eg. MIMO).

    Btw, everything emits a degree of ionising radiation – your walls, your phone, and especially your banana… but a little radiation does you good 🙂 (see ‘radiation hormesis’)