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Do cell phones cause cancer?

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently added radiation emitted by cell phones as a possible cause of cancer. Recent studies have found that people who used cell phones regularly for 10 years or more had increased rates of glioma of the brain. The IARC group of 31 scientists from 14 countries reviewed these studies and found enough evidence to categorize cell phone radiation exposure as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Since its inception, the IARC has reviewed over 900 agents and substances and classified just over 400 of them as carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, or possibly carcinogenic. Because both the WHO and IARC are reputable and respected agencies, the classification of cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen received a great deal of media attention. It also prompted cell phone manufacturers to emphasize that they have always recommended that cell phone users keep their phones at least half an inch away from their heads.

Keeping a cell phone away from the body is an easy enough thing to do. However, in reality, most people place their phones by their heads to make and receive calls, rather than use a tethered earpiece and microphone. More importantly, the health risk of children who use cell phones is a concern since the brains of children are under development until they reach early adulthood.

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