It’s probably the last thing you want to hear when you’re browsing a gadget site with a strong slant towards mobile technology, but a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report has this week suggested that there may possibly be a link between mobile phone usage and lethal forms of brain cancer.
Working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields found in mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk of glioma. Glioma is a malignant brain cancer which has previously been linked with mobile phone usage.
31 scientists from 14 countries scoured years’ worth of research for the study. As a result, WHO have now said that mobile phones should be classed as “possibly carcinogenic”.
Now the emphasis here is on “possibly” as WHO were unable to conclusively decide one way or the other whether or not smartphones are a direct link to certain forms of brain tumours. But the research did find snippets of evidence that suggested so.
Either way, erring on the side of caution is never a bad thing. Here are a few tips to help avoid exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields without ditching your trusty mobile.
1) Buy a Bluetooth headset
…or a wired one for handsfree calls. The idea here is that keeping the phone away from your head should reduce the exposure to the potentially harmful frequencies. While they can sometimes make you look like an extra out of The Matrix, stylish Bluetooth headsets can be picked up from as little as £10 or £15 nowadays.
2) Text more!
Again, by texting you’re keeping the phone away from the sensitive areas of your brain that may be susceptible to an increased risk of cancer. Monthly contract deals usually come with far more texts available than any average person would ever use, so now is a great time to touch up on yr txt spk. Just watch you don’t get RSI in the process.
3) When at home, use the landline
Another fairly obvious point, but why risk illness by using your mobile phone at home when most of us have a perfectly good landline sitting there unloved? Sure, it may not have Angry Birds built in or access to your Twitter hashtags, but the faithful old landline served us for many a good year before the advent of mobile phones. Rates to other landlines are usually significantly cheaper than with PAYG tariffs too.
4) iPhone 4 users, use FaceTime!
…or Skype or any other similar VoIP service that you favour. On a mobile you’ll be holding the phone far enough away from your head to frame your pretty mug nicely, while on a computer you wont be near the potentially harmful phone at all.