Cell Phones, Airport Scanners & Radiation Exposure

People who use cell phones for at least half an hour every day over many years (ie, 10 years) have more than 33% chance of developing malignant tumors in the brain, according to a landmark 2010 study from the World Health Organization. (reported by the New York Times)

Researchers  examined the amount of radio frequency (RF) exposure cell phone users undergo in various scenarios. The findings, published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, show that older analog technology produced the highest RF levels.  Of the various digital communications networks used by cell phones CDMA networks had the lowest RF (major carriers include Sprint PCS, Verizon and Virgin Mobile) while with GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) and TDMA  (major US carriers have left this system)  showing similar intermediate levels. Generally users are exposed to higher RF power output in rural areas.

Source: http://www.nature.com

Radiofrequency is a form of electromagnetic radiation.  The National Cancer Institute states that there is no known links between cancer risk and RF, but research is still ongoing.

Source: http://www.cancer.gov

While the debate continues, the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, says it makes sense to chose a cellphone or wireless device with low radiation. They published a report on Cell Phones and Radiation Exposure and recommends specific makes and models.

Radiation and Airport Security Scanners

Researchers have determined that the airport security full-body scans with machines made by Rapiscan Inc. do expose the body to high levels of radiation that may contribute to cancer and other health conditions.

The travelers who are the most vulnerable are the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems.

It should be noted that the amount of radiation exposure is no more than that received by two minutes flying at cruising altitude.  Nonetheless, those who don’t want to be screened may request a full body pat-down instead.

Researchers: University of California, San Francisco