Canadian officials are raising questions about the safety of cellphones and other devices that emit electromagnetic radio-frequency (RF) waves.
RF energy was classified as "possibly carcinogenic" in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and although Health Canada says most studies don't show a link between cellphones and cancer, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health recently heard three days of testimony from the cellphone industry, medical experts, and advocacy groups.
A committee comprised of members from all political parties will now prepare a report which could make suggestions, including reconsidering current exposure limits.
Currently, both cellphones and cellphone towers must meet regulatory requirements that limit RF exposure. A report issued in April, 2014 found that current guidelines were adequate, but advised further research into a possible link between RF and cancer, especially in children.
Several studies have linked cellphones and cancer. A study published in the journal Pathophysiology, found that people who used the phones the most doubled their risk of being diagnosed with glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. Another study found a link between women who carried cellphones in their bras and breast cancer.
Some doctors worry that since cancer can take years to develop, it may be decades before the full danger is known.
Other experts worry about additional possible negative effects on health, such as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, a group of symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, and heart palpitations.
Still others worry about the effects on the developing brains of children. An animal study conducted at Yale University found that cellphones caused changes in brain development that could cause hyperactivity. "We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cellphone exposure in the womb," said senior researcher Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, a reproductive specialist. "The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure."
How to reduce your risk to RF exposure:
• Limit the number and length of phone calls made using cellphones.
• Keep cellphones away from your head by using the speakerphone.
• Replace phone calls with text messages.
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