Why is there concern that cell phones may cause cancer?

There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cellular telephones (also known as "wireless" or "mobile" telephones) may cause certain types of cancer:
  • Cellular telephones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy (radio waves), which is a form of radiation that is under investigation for its effects on the human body.
  • Cellular telephone technology emerged in Europe in the 1980s but did not come into widespread use in the United States until the 1990s. The technology is rapidly changing, so there are few long-term studies of the effects of RF energy from cellular telephones on the human body.
  • The number of cellular telephone users has increased rapidly. As of December 2008, there were more than 270 million subscribers to cellular telephone service in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is an increase from 110 million users in 2000 and 208 million users in 2005.
For these reasons, it is important to learn whether RF energy from cellular telephones affects human health.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.
Electromagnetic radiation from cell phones has been implicated in causing some kinds of brain tumors in adults, which is concerning. In this video, pediatrician Lisa Thornton, MD, explains these findings and shares an important safety tip.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.