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Running head: CELL PHONE USE AND BRAIN CANCER RISK Cell Phone Use and Brain Cancer Risk: A Review of Scientific EvidenceUniversity of Ottawa HSS2104 A: Human Activity, Occupation, and HealthProfessor Francois BeaulieuOctober 3rd, 20181
CELL PHONE USE AND BRAIN CANCER RISKIntroductionSince the introduction of cell phones in the 1990s, their use has grown rapidly with a sharp increase in screen time (American Cancer Society, 2018). As cell phones become an essential commodity in modern day life, concerns regarding user safety arise. Controversy regarding the safety of cell phone use was heightened when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, classified radiofrequency fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (American Cancer Society, 2018). The aim of this paper is to answer the following question: does exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cell phone use increase the risk of brain cancer in male and female adults? To answer this question, this paper looks at current literature on the topic including peer-reviewed epidemiological and laboratory studies. An analysis of literature reveals that the association between exposure to radiation from cell phone use and increased risk of brain cancer is weak and that further researcher is needed in this area. Background Cell Phone Communication: How Does It Work? Cell phones send and receive signals by transmitting radiofrequency waves through a network of fixed antennas called base stations (American Cancer Society, 2018). Radiofrequencywaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation, specifically categorized as non-ionizing radiation (American Cancer Society, 2018). Non-ionizing radiation has a low frequency and therefore, lowenergy. Unlike ionizing radiation, non-ionizing radiation does not directly damage DNA inside cells (American Cancer Society, 2018). However, while non-ionizing radiation does not directly damage DNA, researchers have been investigating other possible mechanisms of damage that could potentially lead to cancer.Exposure to Non-Ionizing Radiation from Cell Phones The antenna, part of the body of a hand-held phone, generates radiofrequency waves (RF)in cell phones and waves are strongest at this location (American Cancer Society, 2018). The radiofrequency energy emitted from cell phones can be absorbed by the human body (National Cancer Institute, 2018). To measure the amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the humanbody, the Specific Absorbance Rate (SAR) is used. SAR is expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight (American Cancer Society, 2018). Research indicates that body tissues closer to the cell phone absorb more energy than tissues which are farther away from the cell phone 2
CELL PHONE USE AND BRAIN CANCER RISK(American Cancer Society, 2018). Exposure is also influenced by the amount of time spent on a phone, the distance and path nearest to a phone tower, the amount of cell phone traffic in the area, and the model of phone used (American Cancer Society, 2018).