Science has bad news for tech lovers (which is pretty much all of us, right?) today. A comprehensive government study found that cell phones do raise the risk of getting cancer. Well, in rats, anyhow. (Are You Too Attached to Your iPhone?)
People have been asking if cell phones could give us cancer since cell phones were invented. And the preliminary findings from a new study released by The National Toxicology Program (a part of the National Institute for Environmental Health Services) show that the type of radio frequencies used in cell phones, fitness trackers, tablets, and other wireless devices can cause a small increase heart and brain cancers.
This new data appears to support the findings of other smaller studies and backs up the International Agency for Research on Cancer's warning about the possible carcinogenic potential of cell phone use. (Here's Why Scientists Think Wireless Technology Can Cause Cancer.)
But before you send your farewell Snapchat to go off the grid, there are a few things you should consider. First, this study was done on rats, and, while we do share some mammalian similarities, they are not humans. Second, these are just the preliminary findings—the full report has not yet been released and the studies haven't been completed.
And there is one strange twist to the researcher's findings. While there did appear to be a significant association between radio frequency radiation exposure (RFR) and brain and heart tumors in male rats, "no biologically significant effects were observed in the brain or heart of female rats." Does this mean we ladies are off the hook? Is this scientific proof once and for all that women are definitely not the weaker sex? (As if we needed scientific proof!)
We'll have to wait for the full report to get all our questions answered, but in the meantime the researchers say they didn't want to wait to start getting their message out to the public. "Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR could have broad implications for public health." (Don't stress—We've got 8 Steps for Doing a Digital Detox Without FOMO.)