The world’s two-billionth cell phone user was connected up in July. The milestone is a reminder that it is still not clear if the devices are a health menace. Cell phone makers and service carriers say No, but health fears persist.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper, one of many that covered the billionth connection, reminded readers that some experts worry the constant exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by the phones and base stations can lead to acoustic neuroma. The rare and benign tumor of the cranial nerve impairs hearing and balance. The article referred to a 2004 study by the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that found 10 years or more of cell phone use could increase the risk of the tumor.
Some users report fatigue, headaches and burning skin from using their device. There are claims that EMFs affect the body’s cells, brain or immune system, and increases the risk of developing a range of diseases including cancer.
As a measure of interest in the risk question, “cell phone research” turns up 93 million results in one popular search engine and “mobile phone research” turns up 94 million.
The July 2005 issue The Ergomics Report