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Very high levels of electromagnetic energy, such as is found in X-rays and gamma
rays, can ionize biological tissues. Ionization is a process where electrons are
stripped away from their normal locations in atoms and molecules. It can
permanently damage biological tissues including DNA, the genetic material.
The energy levels associated with radio frequency energy, including both radio
waves and microwaves, are not great enough to cause ionization of atoms and
molecules. Therefore, RF energy is a type of non-ionizing radiation. Other types of
non-ionizing radiation include visible light, infrared radiation (heat), and other forms
of electromagnetic radiation with relatively low frequencies.
While RF energy does not ionize particles, large amounts can increase body
temperatures and cause tissue damage. Two areas of the body, the eyes and the
testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because there is relatively little
blood flow in them to carry away excess heat.
Research Results to Date: Is there a connection between RF and certain health
The results of most studies conducted to date say no. In addition, attempts to
replicate and confirm the few studies that have shown a connection have failed.
The scientific community at large therefore believes that the weight of scientific
evidence does not show an association between exposure to Radio Frequency (RF)
from cell phones and adverse health outcomes. Still the scientific community has
supported additional research to address gaps in knowledge. Some of these studies
are described below.
Interphone is a large international study designed to determine whether cell phones
increase the risk of head and neck cancer. A report published in the International
Journal of Epidemiology (June, 2010) compared cell phone usage for more than
5,000 people with brain tumors (glioma and meningioma) and a similar number of