Cell Phones on Hip May Weaken Bone
Study Suggests Link Between Bone Weakness and Wearing a Cell Phone on the Hip
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 27, 2009 -- Early research suggests that wearing a cell phone on your
hip may weaken the area of the pelvis widely used for bone grafting.
Using an X-ray technique used in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients
with osteoporosis, researchers from Turkey's Suleyman Demireli University
measured pelvic bone density in 150 men who regularly carried their cell phones
attached to their belts.
The men carried their phones for an average of 15 hours each day; they had
used cell phones for an average of six years.
The researchers found that bone mineral density was slightly less on the
side of the pelvis where the mobile phones were carried than on the side that
was not in contact with the phones.
The difference was not statistically significant and fell far short of
approaching bone density reductions seen in people with osteoporosis.
But the findings raise the possibility that bone density could be adversely
affected by electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones, researcher Tolga
Atay, MD, and colleagues note in a news release.
The men in the study were relatively young -- their average age was 32 --
and the researchers hypothesize that bone loss may be more significant in older
people with a greater risk for osteoporosis.
The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Craniofacial
It is among the first to suggest that close-proximity, long-term exposure to
mobile phones may weaken bones, and the researchers stress that their findings
Frank Barnes, PhD, who is a distinguished professor of electrical and
computer engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, tells WebMD that
he knows of no other research examining the impact of cell phone exposure on
Barnes chaired a National Research Council (NRC) committee asked by the FDA
to report on the research evaluating cell phone safety.
He points out that electromagnetic waves have been used experimentally to
promote bone growth in people with broken bones that would not heal.
Electromagnetic wave treatment has also been found to strengthen bone in
research involving patients with osteoporosis.