As more people become glued to their smartphones, researchers are concerned about the potential health risks. One study conducted by the occupational and environmental medicine department of Inha University Hospital has found a correlation between the rising incidence of brain tumors and the increasing rate of mobile phone usage in Korea.
The study analyzed the trends in benign and malignant brain tumors among the entire Korean population in relation to the proliferation of mobile phones, with data from the National Cancer Data Center used to determine the incidence of brain tumors. It revealed that the distribution rate of mobile phones per 100 people in Korea increased from 0 in 1991 to 135 in 2019.
Using a correlation coefficient to calculate the association between the distribution rate of mobile phones and the incidence of malignant brain tumors, including glioma, meningioma, and schwannoma, the study found a very high correlation coefficient of 0.75, 0.85, and 0.84, respectively, at a confidence level of 95%. Even benign brain tumors, which are tumors that only occur in the specific area of the brain without invading surrounding tissues, showed a positive correlation with the distribution rate of mobile phones.
However, the researchers noted that unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors are affected by variables such as the development of diagnostic technology, including CT and MRI scans.
Earlier research conducted by a joint team led by Professor Myung Seung-Kwon, the director of the Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy at the National Cancer Center in Korea, had found that the risk of tumor development increases with cumulative mobile phone usage exceeding 1,000 hours.
Experts advise minimizing the risk of mobile phone radiation by reducing usage in situations where electromagnetic waves are more intense, such as in elevators and vehicles. Additionally, they suggest using earphones or keeping the phone 2-3 cm away from the face when making calls. As the popularity of smartphones continues to grow, these findings underscore the importance of taking precautions to protect one’s health.