A recent study has found that heavy cell phone users show increase in risk factors for cancer, a new study on human saliva has claimed. Scientists have long been worried about the possible harmful effects of regular cellular phone use, but studies so far have been largely inconclusive.
With more and more people getting dissolved in this latest ‘tech’ culture, worries regarding the various harmful effects of cell phone use have been put forward by researchers in medical sector.
Researchers said that radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by cell phones, are classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). To further explore the relationship between the increasing cancer rates and cell phone use, Dr.Yaniv Hamzany from Tel Aviv University and colleagues looked for clues in the human saliva of cell phone users.
Since the cell phone is placed close to our mouth and salivary gland when in use, researchers hypothesised that salivary content in human body could reveal whether there was any connection to cancer development. Comparing heavy mobile phone users to non-users, they found that the saliva of the heavy users showed convincing indications of higher oxidative stress which is a process that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals.
More importantly, heavy usage of phone is considered to be a major risk factor leading to cancer. Researchers examined the saliva content of 20 heavy-user patients, defined as speaking on their phones for a minimum of eight hours-length per month. Most participants speak a lot while on their cell phone, Hamzany said, as much as 30 to 40 hours a month, which by him is a matter of concern. The salivary content of these heavy cell phone speakers was compared to that of a control group, which consisted of deaf patients who either do not use a cell phone, or use the device exclusively for sending only text messages and other non-verbal functions. Compared to the control group, the heavy cell phone users had a significant increase in all salivary oxidative stress measurements studied.
“This suggests that there is considerable stress on the tissue and glands which are close to the cell phone when in use,” he said. The damage caused by oxidative stress is directly linked to cellular and genetic mutations which cause the development of tumours inside the human body, researchers said. This field of research reflects concerns about the impact of cell phone use over people, specifically the effects of radio-frequency non-ionising electromagnetic radiation on human tissue located close to the ear, researchers said. Researchers said although these results don’t uncover a conclusive “cause and effect” relationship between cellular phone use and cancer, they add to the building evidence that cell phone use may be harmful in the long term, and point to a new direction for further research. The findings have been reported in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signalling.