Posted by Hilary Parker on August 12, 2011
Vigilant moms face a number of tough calls every day. Should you let your eight-year-old ride her bike to the corner store alone? Is ten too young to start blogging? Should I let my teenager have his own cell phone?
Apart from the worries about just how much of his time (and your money) he’ll spend on said phone, we worry about the phones’ safety. And while a new report addresses this very issue, it doesn’t move the debate down the field so much as offside kick it.
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cell phones won’t give our kids cancer. At least, not yet.
The study compared cell phone usage of almost 1,000 Western European kids and adolescents from ages 7 to 19 — including the 352 diagnosed with a brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. Regular cell phone users were not more likely to develop a brain tumor than those who never used the phones, researchers say.
It’s possible that because most of the participants in the study used cell phones for an average of just four years and cancer typically takes a long time to develop, this study does not accurately determine cancer risk. The researchers themselves note this issue and recommend the continued monitoring of brain cancer rates among cell phone users of all ages. The National Cancer Institute also weighed in, noting “the interval between exposure to a carcinogen and the clinical onset of a tumor may be many years or decades.”
What’s more, critics of the study point out that the researchers’ definition of “regular user” included those who, at minimum, made one call on a cell phone each week for six months. As any parent can tell you, that’s not kids’ “regular” use of a cell phone.
Looks like no news is… no news.