Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

From the Hopkins Health Watch Questions and Answers

More News on Cell Phones and Cancer

Q: I saw on the news that cell phones cause tumors in the saliva glands. I’ve also seen articles saying that research in Europe shows that cell phones are perfectly safe to use. I don’t know who to believe. What’s your take on all this contradictory info?

A: My take on cell phones and cancer is that, based on scientific evidence, you can build a case that cell phone use doesn’t cause any health problems, and you can build an equally good case that they do. That being said, most of the studies showing no problems are funded by cell phone companies. One study from Finland showed no increased risk of certain brain cancers when simply comparing a group of cell phone users with nonusers, but when they compared people who had been using cell phones for ten years or more with those who had not, the cell phone users had a 39 percent greater risk of a brain cancer called a glioma on the side of the head that they held the phone. In other words, a lot depends on which questions you ask and how you interpret the answers.

The salivary gland tumors showed up in a study from Israel published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in February 2008. This research found that the heaviest cell phone users had a 50 percent greater risk of benign and malignant tumors of the main salivary gland on the side that they used the phone.

All of the studies that have shown a positive correlation between cell phone use and cancer, have linked it to frequent and long term use. Researchers who find a correlation between cell phone use and cancers universally urge us to be cautious about children using cell phones. Here’s where to find my Tips for Safer Cell Phone Use.

While I was researching melatonin recently I found a study (Int J Radiat Biol 2002 Nov;78(11):1029-36) showing that those who used cell phones for more than 25 minutes per day had reduced melatonin levels, and the longer the use the lower the melatonin levels went. Here’s my Melatonin Main Page where you can find out more about how essential melatonin is to optimal health.