The smartphone has been hailed as the next great frontier in communication, but it’s also one of the biggest threats to the health of the planet.
As smartphones become more ubiquitous, the human race’s reliance on technology is likely to increase.
In a new study, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of California, San Diego examined the health impacts of cellphone radiation exposure, finding that high-frequency cellphone use can increase the risk of several diseases.
Researchers tested a group of 10,000 people with low-risk cell phone radiation exposure.
After two years, those exposed to 2,600 millisieverts (mSv) of cellphone exposure had an increased risk of developing cancer.
In addition, those who had the highest exposure had higher rates of heart disease and diabetes.
The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Cellphone radiation is a known carcinogen and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited the sale of cell phones that emit more than 100 mSv of radiation.
But as cellphone use becomes more widespread, scientists are also working to understand the effect that this exposure might have on humans.
“The fact that we’re starting to see this really serious relationship between cellphone radiation and health impacts is really significant,” says Dr. Richard C. Ramey, director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.
“This study suggests that this kind of exposure could have a direct and significant impact on the health, particularly in populations of low socioeconomic status.”
What makes cell phones so dangerous?
In a study published in Science Translate in December, scientists reported that people exposed to cell phones with the highest levels of cell phone-generated radiation were twice as likely to develop lung cancer, which is linked to increased risk for cancer and other illnesses.
Researchers found that cell phones emitted a large amount of electromagnetic radiation.
Microwaves are created when the electricity is transmitted through a wire or other device, or when a capacitor is placed in the phone’s antenna to receive signals.
In theory, the higher the amount of radio waves, the more energy is absorbed.
Scientists have speculated that the higher frequencies emitted by cell phones can cause cells to become more sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and can lead to cancer.
But the results of this study don’t prove that cell phone exposure is a direct cause of cancer.
There is no evidence that cellphones cause cancer, and there’s no known reason why exposure to higher frequencies would lead to increased cancer risk.
The study also found that people with the lowest levels of exposure had the lowest rates of cancer, though the study did not specifically examine this group.
There’s also no known evidence that people who are exposed to cellphone radiation in the early stages of their life have a higher risk of cancer later in life.
And as more people move into the workplace, the number of people who live in low-income households will likely rise.
“These are not epidemiological studies, but we’re seeing a very strong relationship between exposure to cellphone use and a very high rate of cancer,” says Michael C. Molloy, a research scientist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We need to be really careful with this kind, because it is potentially going to have a very large and negative impact on our ability to live longer.”
What can we do to reduce cellphone radiation?
Researchers have been working to reduce exposure to cell phone radiofrequency radiation, or RF radiation, for decades.
Scientists started using a variety of technologies in the 1970s and 80s, including radiofrequency energy meters (RFEMs), which measured radiofrequency emissions in real time.
This kind of measurement allowed researchers to look at the effects of radiation exposure in real-time.
However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that researchers started using high-quality, long-term follow-up studies to track the long- term effects of exposure.
In order to conduct these studies, researchers had to be able to measure the levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation at different times throughout the day, and these studies were very expensive.
Researchers were also required to follow up with the people who were exposed to the highest amounts of radiofence.
These follow-ups provided a wealth of data, but only a limited amount of data was collected over time.
“It was very difficult to actually collect this kind for a very long period of time,” Mollay says.
For example, in the first study that looked at the health effects of cellphones, researchers in Japan had the first group of people exposed for more than 10 years.
But after that, the researchers were able to collect a total of about 20,000 individual exposures.
Mollsoy says that the biggest challenge in developing these studies was finding people to follow.
“You have to be very selective in the groups you go after,”