Cell Phones and Health Concerns: The Speculative and the Proven

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Last updated April 12, 2019

Concerns about health and cell phones have been around almost as long as the devices themselves, with periodical scares occurring about possible damage to the nervous system that could result from long-term close-up exposure to electromagnetic radiation.  Since cell phones are held to people’s heads for hours each day in some cases, these scares sometimes hit their mark and convince policymakers to pass laws requiring warning labels.

Such is the case this week in San Francisco, where such a law is now in place.  Several major cell phone manufacturers including Nokia, Apple, and Google are currently seeking to have enforcement of the law blocked, calling it “alarmist”. At the very least, the law may be premature since scientists are still divided over whether cell phone health concerns are purely speculative.

What is not subject to speculation, however, is the fact that cell phones definitely pose another kind of health hazard.  This hazard comes not from their close proximity to the skull and brain but from their inclusion of highly toxic chemicals and substances that leach out of the phones over time after they are discarded in a landfill.

Communities, non-profit groups, and governments alike have united to urge old cell phone recycling, but as of yet there are few laws requiring the practice.  This is a shame because while there is doubt about cell phones causing brain damage from normal use, there is no doubt at all that cell phones will pollute the environment unless they are properly recycled by a reputable cell phone recycling company.