Meta-Analysis Shows Increased Risk of Tumors for Cell Phone Users

A comprehensive meta-analysis of 46 case-control studies conducted by researchers at the  UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Korea’s National Cancer Center, and Seoul National University found evidence that heavier cell phone use is associated with an increased risk of tumors, primarily brain tumors.

Faculty Headshot of Joel Moskowitz

Joel Moskowitz, PhD

According to the analysis, the use of a cell phone for more than 1,000 hours—or about 17 minutes a day for a decade—significantly increased the risk of tumors. In the individual studies that were analysed, individuals who used cell phones for over a decade had a slightly elevated overall tumor risk over those who had used cell phones for less than 5 years.

“Cell phone use highlights a host of public health issues and it has received little attention in the scientific community, unfortunately,” said Joel Moskowitz, PhD, lead author of a paper on the analysis published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  and director of the Center for Family and Community Health at Berkeley Public Health. “I’ve been writing and researching the risk of cell phone radiation from cell phones and cell towers since 2009, and as soon as those stories went public in the media I was contacted from survivors of cell phone radiation begging me to stay on this topic.”

This current meta-analysis is an update to a 2009 meta-analysis and includes studies that have been conducted during the past decade. Moskowitz emphasized that these studies have been controversial as it is a highly sensitive political topic with significant economic ramifications for a powerful industry.

In December of 2017, the California Department of Public Health issued a warning to the public about exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phones. Some researchers say that this public health warning did not do enough to educate the public.

Read the full paper at the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health here.