Can cell phone radiation cause cancer?

Do you worry about getting cancer from your cell phone?  Some say the radio energy emitted by your cell phone can cause it but others say it's not enough to cause harm. 

One big issue right now, should you be told right there in the store how much radio energy a cell phone gives out?  The wireless industry is suing the city of San Francisco to stop a law that would have stores do that.  Thursday, a local expert weighed in all of it.

The Palm Pixi smart phone emits 1.21 watts per kilogram of radio energy.  The Motorola Droid emits 1.49.  These numbers are in your cell phone's manual, but what if you saw them posted in your cell phone providers store?  Would you worry more that one phone is safe than another?

Dr. Dennis Alexander is an engineering professor at UNL.  He says, “I don't see anything wrong with putting it on there.  People should be supplied with the radio levels so then you can make your own conscientious decision about whether to buy that phone.”

Alexander says it's good to know, but the radio energy levels emitted from any cell phone are pretty low.  He says the danger comes when the radio energy interacts with cells in your head at the time they're dividing.

He says that's more likely to happen to younger people because more cells are dividing when you're growing.  “A younger person who spends eight to ten hours on the phone has a higher probability of that radiation interaction with the cell, just at the time it is perhaps dividing.”

It's like the old saying, 'it's better to listen than talk'.  Alexander says if you're just listening, your phone is emitting less radio energy than when you're talking.  So, the less you're talking, the older you are and the further away the phone is from your head, then the less dangerous you're cell phone becomes.  Alexander says, “the probability is not zero, but the probability is low that it would cause any significant biological effect, in my opinion.”

The US does have a limit for how much radio energy a cell phone can emit.  It's 1.6 watts per kilogram.  Three Motorola phones are at the top of that emissions threshold.

Here are some things to keep in mind while you are using your phone:

  • Keep the phone away from your body
  • Text more and talk less
  • Use Speakerphone function
  • Use your land line
  • Turn off your mobile phone while charging
  • Keep cell phones away from children
  • Do not allow your children their own mobile phone
  • You can choose a phone with a low radiation emission by going for one with a low SAR value