Electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones may adversely affect bone strength, especially if you carry your cell phone on your hip suggests a study in the March Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.
Men who routinely wear their cell phone on their belt on the right side have reduced bone mineral content and bone mineral density in the right hip, according to the study by Dr. Fernando D. Sravi of National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. He writes, "The different patterns of right-left asymmetry in femoral bone mineral found in mobile cell phone users and nonusers are consistent with a nonthermal effect of electromagnetic radiofrequency waves not previously described."
Carrying Cell Phone on Belt Linked to Lower Hip Bone Density
Dr. Sravi measured bone mineral content and bone mineral density at the left and right hip in two groups of healthy men: 24 men who did not use cell phones and 24 men who carried their cell phone in a belt pouch, on the right side, for at least one year. The bone mineral content and bone mineral density was measured using a test called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Bone mineral content and bone mineral density are standard markers of bone strength.
Average hip bone mineral content and bone mineral density measurements were not significantly different between men who did not use cell phones and men who carried their cell phones in a belt pouch on their hips. However, men who did not use cell phones had higher bone mineral content in the right femoral neck (near the top of the thigh bone): a normal left-right difference that was absent in cell phone users. Thus men who wore their cell phones on the right side had a relative reduction in femoral neck bone mineral content in that hip.
The cell phone users also had reduced bone mineral density and bone mineral content at the right trochanter—an area at the outside top of the thigh bone, close to where the phone would be worn on the belt. The difference between the left and right trochanters was significantly related to the estimated total hours spent carrying a cell phone.
There are concerns about several potential harmful effects of cellular phones. However, few studies have looked at whether electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones could affect bone mineralization. With the rapid growth in cell phone use, any significant effect that cell phone use has on bone mineral density could have a substantial effect on the osteoporosis rate in the population.
Although small, the new study on the affect of cell phone use on bone health raises the possibility that long-term exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones could adversely affect bone mineralization.
Larger follow-up studies will be needed to confirm or disprove this hypothesis, according to Dr Sravi. He suggests that studies may be warranted in women, who have higher rates of osteoporosis; and children, who would have longer expected lifetime exposure to cell phones.
The of Craniofacial Surgery journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.