Expert Advice

Are cell phones safe?

Are cell phones safe?
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YES. Scientific research says there’s no clear evidence that cell phones are a health danger.
The debate. A cell phone exposes your ear and head to a low level of heat generated by radio frequency (RF) energy. The amount is far below what’s deemed unsafe by the Federal Communications Commission, but it’s unclear whether long-term exposure can cause brain tumors or other cancers.
No risk—so far. More than 20 published studies have examined regular cell phone usage and cancer risk, and nearly all have found no evidence of increased cancer risk. However, some experts say it’s too early to tell—it takes 10 to 15 years for cancer to appear as the result of an environmental agent, and cell phones haven’t been around that long. Also, most studies label “regular use” as at least one or two calls per week for six months—a far cry from today’s world of heavy users.
Use a headset. An earpiece or headset will reduce exposure to your head, ear, and neck.
—Michael Kelsh, Ph.D., M.P.H., principal scientist for Exponent, an engineering firm in Menlo Park, Calif.