Here at Inhabitots, we’ve long debated whether or not cell phones and iPhones are harmful or a useful tool. In fact 276 of Inhabitots readers (and counting) say that they let their kids use cell phones or iPhones. Today, the debate clears up a little, as the World Health Organization (WHO) along with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), have officially classified the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields used by cell phones as cancer-causing to humans. In their new report (pdf), WHO states that cell phone use is significantly linked to an increased risk for glioma, a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.

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In the past, WHO has stated that cell phone use is likely safe, but have changed their tune with this new report. According to CNN, this change of tune came about after a team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the USA, reviewed various peer-reviewed studies on cell phones. After researching these studies, the researchers found enough of a connection between cancer and cell phones to be concerned. While the report doesn’t recommend ditching your cell phone (yet), IARC Director Christopher Wild does say:

It is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands?free devices or texting.

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Photo © Flickr user snappybex

Cell phone moderation is important – especially for kids. Zero long-term research has been conducted surrounding kids and cell phone use. We really have no clue how cell phone use may be affecting our kids.

Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, tells CNN:

“The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences… Childrens’ skulls and scalps are thinner. So the [cell phone] radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger.“

A report summarizing all of the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group will be published in The Lancet Oncology in its July 1 issue. For now you can take a look at the first WHO report (pdf). After hearing this news, will you still let your child play with your cell phone? Let us know in the comments.

Lead image © Flickr user tinkerbrad