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Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumors

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Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumors


Many technologies today have made life so much easier to the point that it is hard to live without them. Cell phones could safely be included in this category. Cell phones are the smaller and wireless version of the regular phones, which people can take anywhere they want. When people look at cell phones, they see a technological breakthrough, a fashion statement, or even a “what would my life be without this amazing device?” They are truly revolutionary devices because cell phones allow people to communicate whenever and wherever. Young and old, a lot of people seem to have cell phones these days. The number of cell phone users in 2005 was estimated to be 2,168,433,600 according to the CIA World Factbook. That is almost one third of the world’s population. With this many users of the cell phone, one would think that these people are aware of all the good and bad effects of the device. This is not true.

A large number of the cell phone users are not aware that cell phones have the ability to potentially cause brain damage. However, the use of cell phones causing brain damage such as cancer or tumors is not a completely proven fact. For this reason, there has been a lot of debate about cell phones having any negative health problems for the users. This controversy began in mid-1992 in a U.S. court, when David Reynard sued Motorola Inc. The case was opened because of the fatal brain cancer Reynard’s wife had developed after using the cell phone, from which she later died. From that point on, there have been many studies done on the correlation between cell phone usage and risk of getting brain cancer. While one group thinks that cell phones cause brain cancer, there is another side that believes cell phones have no connection with brain cancer due to the lack of hard factual evidence. Many newspapers, magazines, scholarly articles have been published about the cell phone controversy. The five popular press sources, which will be used in this paper, are all from American newspapers and magazines. They include information about both sides of the argument. On the other hand, the scholarly sources are also mainly from the United States, but one article is from New Zealand. Like the popular press articles, these scholarly sources cover both sides of the controversy. All of these articles make very strong points about the side that they are defending.

The first side of the cell phone controversy, which some of the popular press and scholarly articles defend, is the argument that cell phones cause brain cancer and other brain related diseases. How, if at all, cell phones cause cancer is still a very debated issue since research began on the topic in early 1990s. Those who argue that cell phones cause brain related diseases, mainly brain cancer and brain tumors, say that the radio transmitters (RF) inside cell phones radiate energy constantly at a person’s head when the device is in use. The usage of cell phones and the type of signal the cell phone receives leads to the increase in the specific absorption rate (SAR). SAR is the rate at which a human body absorbs radiation. (could add a little more to this paragraph, a sentence to transition to the next paragraph)

The scholarly article titled “Are Mobile Phones Safe?” reports that a researcher named Henry Lai and his team, in a 1995 University of Washington study, had tested the RF radiation exposure on rats at the same average quantity that is radiated to the human head. The study showed the break-up of brain cells’ DNA was visible as a result of the experiment, which the researchers said is a potential cancer-causing symptom. (source, scholarly 1, gotta cite) Although not 100% proven on humans, these researchers believe that high usage of cell phones would also increase the risk of getting brain cancer. The article also talks about the limits that the United States government and the EU have put on exposure of radio frequency radiation from wireless devices. The limit is set to 1.6 watts per 1 kilogram of human tissue. This amount was determined by scientists and engineers through identifying “possible hazards of RF energy by examining a large body of scientific data released to its biological effects.”(source from scholarly 1 again) (ending sentence to connect needed)

A second scholarly article with information about cell phones possibly causing cancer is titled “Cell Phones and Cancer: What is the Evidence for a Connection?” Even though this article does not completely argue that cell

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