An Israeli scientist, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, has found a link between cell phone usage and the development of tumors.
Dr. Sadetzki, a physician, epidemiologist and lecturer at Tel Aviv University, published the results of a study recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology, in which she and her colleagues found that heavy cell phone users were subject to a higher risk of benign and malignant tumors of the salivary gland.
Those who used a cell phone heavily on the side of the head where the tumor developed were found to have an increased risk of about 50% for developing a tumor of the main salivary gland (parotid), compared to those who did not use cell phones.
The fact that the study was done on an Israeli population is significant. Says Sadetzki, "Unlike people in other countries, Israelis were quick to adopt cell phone technology and have continued to be exceptionally heavy users. Therefore, the amount of exposure to radio-frequency radiation found in this study has been higher than in previous cell phone studies.
"This unique population has given us an indication that cell phone use is associated with cancer," adds Sadetzki, whose study investigated nearly 500 people who had been diagnosed with benign and malignant tumors of the salivary gland.
The study also found an increased risk of cancer for heavy users who lived in rural areas. Due to fewer antennas, cell phones in rural areas need to emit more radiation to communicate effectively.
Sadetzki predicts that, over time, the greatest effects will be found in heavy users and children.
Today it is estimated that more than 90% percent of the Western world uses cell phones. As the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, its usage by a greater number of people, including children, is bound to increase.
"While I think this technology is here to stay," Sadetzki says, "I believe precautions should be taken in order to diminish the exposure and lower the risk for health hazards." She recommends that people use hands-free devices at all times, and when talking, hold the phone away from one´s body. Less frequent calls, shorter in duration, should also have some preventative effect.
(Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University)