The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recently published health news regarding cell phone use that may put a number of wireless subscribers at ease: “There is no scientific evidence that low-level electromagnetic field exposure from mobile phones and other transmitting devices causes adverse health effects … “
Electromagnetic fields are found around cell phone antennas, broadcasting antennas, cell phone networks, and other communications equipment. According to the drafters of the report, the Norwegian Expert Committee, have recommended that, “the threshold limit values for electromagnetic fields around transmitters in mobile phones and other equipment should be the same as those recommended by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection.” This limit should be equal to 50 times below the level that causes heating of human tissue or stimulation of nerve cells.
No evidence was found by the expert committee that low level fields led to increased risk of cancer, impairment of male fertility, or led to other diseases or adverse health effects. The committee also found no increased cancer in the head and neck resulting from cell phone usage.
The committee offered nothing greater than taking general caution i.e., the use of hands-free kits, when using cellular phones.
For Black Americans the news could be a wake-up call given the community’s incidence of cell phone usage and cancer rates. Eighty-seven percent of Black Americans own a cell phone. Twelve percent of Black Americans make or receive thirty calls a day on their cell phones. In addition, Black Americans receive or send ten text messages per day. Eighteen percent of Black Americans use mobile devices in order to make purchases online.
And although the expert committee report found no evidence of cell phone usage on cancer, the study should be seen as an opportunity to look at cancer rates in the Black American community. According to the American Cancer Society, Black Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any ethnic or racial group in America for most cancers. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among blacks.
Although the expert committee report focused on leukemia and lymphoma, both new cases identified and deaths from these types of cancers are relatively low in the Black American community. According to the American Cancer Society, lymphoma accounted for two percent of new cases of cancer among black males and three percent of new cases among black females.
We may not be able to speak on the role cell phones play in cancer among Black Americans, especially given the Norwegian report, but staying on the safe-side by recommending hands-free cell phone kits for making these calls seems like a good idea.