mythbuster graphic Besides being a hazard to safe driving, cell phones have been accused of causing brain tumors. Where does this concern come from?

Cellular (cell) phones use radiowaves to carry information between callers. The frequency of these waves ranges from about 850-1900 megahertz (MHz), which is somewhere between the frequencies used by FM radio stations and microwave ovens. The higher the frequencies, the greater the energy carried by the waves.

While waves of higher energies can heat living tissues enough to cause damage, the heat generated by cell phones is so small that few scientists believe they can do any damage to human users.

Nonetheless, some types of brain tumors have been increasingly diagnosed since the cell phone era began (most notably, acoustic neuroma, which can affect hearing). Still, no studies have conclusively proven a causal relationship between cell phone use and the development of brain tumors. But don’t hang up on the myth just yet–this one doesn’t have an easy answer.