It seems like at some point every cellphone user has joked that cellphones are carcinogenic, and that they potentially cause cancer. A recent study has found that this may not be a joke after all.
The study was conducted by Tel Aviv University, with the results being published in the scientific journal Antioxidants and Redox Signalling.
The study does not present a direct connection between cancer development and cellphones use. Rather, it creates the potential for new research, and establishes a connection between long-term use and the effects that lead to molecular changes.
The study looked at the salivary glands of 20 long-term cellphone users, using a mean of 12 years of 30 hours per week use, contrasted with 20 deaf subjects who used their phones only for text messages. The researchers believed that, due to the phone’s proximity to one’s salivary glands, the effects of the phones could be seen by looking at the user’s saliva.
Compared to non-users, the saliva of those who used cellphones had a higher level of oxidative stress, a process which is known to be a major cancerous risk factor.
The researchers found that there was “a significant increase in all salivary oxidative stress indices studied in mobile phone users,” leading to the conclusion that “use of mobile phones may cause oxidative stress and modify salivary function.”
Dr. Yaniv Hamzany of TAU went on to say that the study suggests a “considerable oxidative stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cell phone when in use.”
Cellphones are known to emit non-ionizing radiation, but not for modifying cells in the body. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, announced cellphones to be “possibly carcinogenic,” classifying them as Category 2B, a classification shared by engine exhaust, lead, industrial chemicals, and DDT.