Health Alert: Cell Phones Pose No Cancer Risk?

Last Updated Oct 23, 2011 11:25 PM EDT

Politicians and scientists have been debating the health risks caused by cell phones for decades. A new study, this time from Denmark, swings the pendulum back into the safe zone by suggesting there's no causal link between cell phone radiation and cancer.

As reported in PC World last week, the Danish study monitored 350,000 cell phone users over an 18 year period. The conclusion is that there's no link between owning a cell phone (the study didn't track how long cell phones were used) and an increased risk of cancer.

The study certainly isn't bulletproof. There was no attempt to track actual cell phone usage, for instance, so it isn't clear how much these 350,000 users made use of their phones, if they were handset or headset users, and what the radiation output of the various handsets in the study were. This much is true though: As the largest study of cell phone effects ever conducted, it brings a clarity to the issue through the sheer volume of participants.

So while the results are certainly not definitive, and this is far from the last study we'll see on the subject, this study is further proof that groups which try to link cell phones to radiation -- often without the benefit of actual data -- are losing ground.

The principle problem with linking cell phones to cancer is that cell phones do not emit any ionizing radiation, long considered a prerequisite for adverse health effects. Cell phones only generate RF energy --ie, radio frequency energy -- which has the potential to generate heat. Of course, the World Health Organization recently added RF, such as emitted by cell phones, to the list of possible carcinogens. Whether you view this as a precautionary measure or as a purely political maneuver depends upon your perspective on both the WHO and on the cell phone radiation debate.

Where do you stand on the cell phone debate? Do you believe there's a serious risk of health effects from cell phone use? Do you use Bluetooth headsets to limit your exposure to deadly RF energy? Sound off in the comments.

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