Debunkery- Cell Phones and Cancer

Riley Sproul Debunkery, Ideas, Technology, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Hello again! After just over a month Debunkery, is back! First, a bit of info: This is will be a bi/tri-monthly installation on Dweebed. I’ll get at least two Debunkery posts up a month, three if time permits, this month being an exception. A major point of Dweebed is to start (and facilitate) discussion on a variety of topics, and Debunkery is no exception. I will however, for these posts, keep my opinions to myself and explain the facts (sourced of course) as I find them. If I am wrong, correct me (sources please)! As light hearted as my writing style may come across, I take this series seriously and drive for truth above all else. That all being said, onward!

Do cell phones cause cancer? Simply put… no. Much of the counter evidence for this conclusion are misrepresented, misunderstood, or sometimes even bald faced lies. But let’s delve deeper shall we?

A very thorough study in  International Journal of Epidemiology called, “Brain Tumour Risk in Relation to Mobile Telephone Use” concluded that:

“Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.”

Let’s parse that out; the first sentence is straightforward enough, no correlation between glioma or meningioma (types of brain cancer) and cell phone use was found. Next we have a small retraction from that stance, but biases and error prevent the researchers from drawing conclusions from the data. And finally, that more research is required. “More research is required” is a phrase you will find in virtually every published scientific work. This is often times because it is true, but it also lends credence to the claim that the lab needs more money next at the next grant cycle. The second sentence is likely a point defenders of the supposed causation between cell phones and cancer, will focus on, so let’s do the same: When scientists make a solid, 100%, iron clad claim, in a study such as this, be warry. That is to say, this type of “but we could be wrong” wording, is both common and expected. This is a single study, and cannot be conclusive. In addition, the “highest exposure levels” mentioned, reach into the unlikely scenario that you are on a constant phone call, never using speaker phone. This is also not the only study performed here are a few more: 1 and 2

What about the method that the cancer could come about? Some studies cite the mental stress that cell phones may cause, but this hardly condemns the phones themselves. Others, the heat they give off, somehow altering proteins and leading to cancer causing cellular mutations; but this too makes little sense. Basically, physics gives us no insight into how cell phones could cause cancer. The electromagnetic radiation they give off are not powerful enough to alter DNA strands. Enough X-rays, UV radiation, and Gamma radiation definitely could, but even cranking cell phones up to 11 wouldn’t produce these; as ramping up the usage or input power causes more of the same strength radiation, not stronger emissions.

What would we see if cell phone usage did cause cancer? Well… more cancer. We have phones in our front and rear pants pockets, as well as shirt pockets, much more often than help against our heads. We would see thigh, butt cheek, and breast cancer rates soar! But such evidence simply does not exist.

Cell phones aren’t completely innocent however, they do have some inherent dangers that you should be aware of: Most surprising to me was this one.

Until next time my friends! When I’ll be talking about “detoxification”. See you then!



Any myths or suggestions for Debunkery? Leave a comment below, at the Feedback Page, or send an email to:Riley@dweebed.com






Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
Debunkery- Cell Phones and Cancer was last modified: March 12th, 2015 by Riley Sproul