In recent years, there have been concerns that exposure to electromagnetic radiation may increase the risk of brain tumors (it’s predicted 24,000 people in the US will be affected by a brain tumor in 2023). This concern stems from the fact that our brains are one of the most exposed organs to this type of radiation due to their proximity to the ear and the use of cell phones. While some studies have suggested a link, the evidence is not yet entirely clear.
But let’s backtrack – what exactly is electromagnetic radiation? It’s a type of energy emitted by electronic devices such as cell phones, Wi-Fi routers, and microwaves. EMFs are a form of non-ionizing radiation, meaning they do not have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules, leading to ionization. And tumors? Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain or surrounding tissues. They can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) and can originate from different types of cells in the brain, including glial cells, meninges, and nerve cells.
Malignant brain tumors, also known as brain cancer, are more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the brain or body. Benign brain tumors, on the other hand, are less aggressive and tend to grow more slowly. However, depending on their location and size, benign tumors can still cause serious health problems by putting pressure on surrounding brain tissue. In recent years, there has been a concern for the connection between EMF radiation and the development of brain tumors, and this continues to grow as technology continues to advance at an insatiable rate. With the advancement of new technology such as 5G and Bluetooth, it is important to acknowledge the results of research published to establish guidelines on steps to take going forward.
Now on to the science. A study published in 2018 in the International Journal of Cancer found that long-term use of cell phones was not associated with an increased risk of brain tumors. However, this study found a slight increase in the risk of glioma, a type of brain tumor, in people who used cell phones for more than 25 years – suggesting there might be a risk that develops over a prolonged period. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the link between EMFs and brain tumors.
One of the most comprehensive studies was the Interphone study, which involved over 13,000 participants from 13 countries. The study found no overall increased risk of glioma or meningioma (two types of brain tumors) associated with regular use of cell phones. However, the study did find an increased risk of glioma in the 10% of participants with the highest cumulative exposure to EMR from cell phones.
Another study conducted by the National Toxicology Program found an increased incidence of gliomas and schwannomas (a type of tumor that occurs in the nerve sheath) in rats exposed to high levels of EMR.
As it’s evident, the science behind the potential link between EMFs and brain tumors is still not fully understood. However, it is thought that prolonged exposure to EMFs has the potential to increase the risk of brain tumors by heating the brain tissue, which can result in DNA damage and cell mutations.
Another possible mechanism is the disruption of the blood-brain barrier, a protective barrier that regulates the entry of substances into the brain. EMFs can disrupt this barrier, allowing potentially harmful substances to enter the brain and increase the risk of tumor formation.
Good news – if you take the right steps, you can protect yourself before it’s too late.
While the scientific evidence is not yet conclusive, there are precautions you can take to reduce your exposure to EMFs:
- Limit your use of cell phones: Use a hands-free device or speakerphone when possible to keep the phone away from your head.
- Use Wi-Fi sparingly: Turn off your Wi-Fi when you are not using it, and keep your Wi-Fi router away from areas where you spend a lot of time.
- Use a radiation shield: Radiation shields can reduce the amount of EMR absorbed by your body.
- Keep electronic devices away from your body: Avoid carrying your cell phone in your pocket or placing your laptop on your lap.
- Use wired connections: Use wired connections whenever possible, such as Ethernet cables and wired headphones, to reduce your exposure to EMR.
Therefore with these precautions, you can take control to reduce your exposure to EMFs – and as more research is conducted, we will gain a better understanding of the potential risks of EMFs and how to protect ourselves from them.