Cell phones and brain cancer—tips for reducing even the possibility of risk


Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

In a recent post, I wrote about the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s announcement that using a cell phone may—stress on the may—increase the risk of brain cancer. The agency acknowledges that the decision is based on limited and weak evidence. We won’t know for sure whether or not there is a connection between cell phone use and brain cancer until longer, larger studies than the ones the agency relied on have been completed.

If you like to minimize your risks, even ones that turn out to be nonexistent, is there anything you can do now to minimize the amount of energy your cell phone wafts into your head? One way is to keep your phone from direct contact with your skull. In today’s Boston Globe, technology writer Hiawatha Bray offers several simple ways to do this:

  • Make like a teenager and text instead of talking.
  • Use the speaker phone feature.
  • Try a Bluetooth wireless headset, but turn it off (and take it off) when it isn’t in use.
  • Switch to a wired headset.
  • Hold the phone an inch from your ear.

Don’t buy a cell phone shielding device, counsels Bray. The Federal Communications Commission says they don’t work.

Another option that may (there’s that pesky word again) help is buying a phone that transmits at a lower power level. The Environmental Working Group offers a list of the radiofrequency energy output of phones available from major carriers.


  1. ahsan

    I can relate to this a bit, they always say that college is more about learning how to learn, and I think that is demonstrated in the structure of entry level courses vs senior level ones.

  2. Tao Su

    any solution or preventive measure for this? any other counter-device to protect us from radio frequency? this is very harmful and i am worried knowing about this.

  3. Dave

    I never realized talking on cellPhones could be so dangerous. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Diego Gonzales

    I appreciate your tie and effort in sharing this one. Thank you!

  5. Rosley

    Hello admin,

    There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cell phones (also known as “wireless” or “mobile” telephones) might have the potential to cause certain types of cancer or other health problems:

    Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation. Tissues nearest to where the phone is held can absorb this energy.

    The number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. As of 2010, there were more than 303 million subscribers to cell phone service in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is a nearly threefold increase from the 110 million users in 2000. Globally, the number of cell phone subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union to be 5 billion.

    Over time, the number of cell phone calls per day, the length of each call, and the amount of time people use cell phones have increased. Cell phone technology has also undergone substantial changes.


  6. Plato

    I have read a post on this same matter. People should be more careful while using cellphones. Just use a wired hands free headset, and you reduced your risk by 50%. Now when you take rest or at office, just take out your phone from pocket and keep it on the table!

  7. Anonymous

    Wow I thought a Bluetooth was safe!

  8. Louis-Philippe Bellier


    great article but scary at the same time, i’ve read somewhere that wireless does the same in which small children schools are seeing problems with concentration, headaches, etc… with the wireless installed (article was in Canada)…

    Maybe this would be something interesting to talk about in a futur study or other article!

    If you need more informations,

    Louis-Philippe Bellier
    Consultant www / SEO
    Ergonomics, Security, E-Com
    InoVision Int.

  9. Anonymous

    I agree that a bluetooth headset is the way to go. They’re great for driving or any situation where you need to free your hands for other activities…and it sound like they may be better for your health too!

  10. Andrew

    I’ve always had trouble understanding whether this is truly an issue or not. I understand that in the post you said specifically that no one is really sure as to the actual effects of cell phone use on humans, but I would really like to see an extensive study that categorically draws real-world conclusions.

    [URL removed by moderator]

  11. Maintain the Health

    thank for share

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