Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health

Most of us depend on cell phones every day. Some people wonder if cell phones can cause health problems. Here’s what you should know about cell phones and your health.
Can using a cell phone cause cancer?

There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know if using cell phones causes health effects.

Do cell phones give off (emit) radiation?

Yes – cell phones and cordless phones use radiofrequency radiation (RF) to send signals. RF is different from other types of radiation (like x-rays) that we know can be harmful. We don’t know for sure if RF radiation from cell phones can cause health problems years later. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF radiation as a “possible human carcinogen.” (A carcinogen is an agent that causes cancer.)

Should people stop using cell phones?

At this time we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use. Scientific studies are underway to determine whether cell phone use may cause health effects. It is also important to consider the benefits of cell phones. Their use can be valuable in an urgent or emergency situation – and even save lives.

If you are worried about cell phone use, follow the tips below.

Why has the information on this page been updated?

CDC has not changed its position on health effects associated with the use of cell phones. The agency updated these cell phone FAQs in June 2014 as part of efforts to ensure that health information for the public followed best practices, including the use of plain, easy-to-understand, language. During this process, revisions were introduced which inadvertently led some visitors to the web page to believe that a change in position had occurred. The corrected FAQs are now available on this page.

CDC announces changes in public health policy and recommendations through publication in the peer-reviewed literature, usually accompanied by outreach to partners and a media announcement. We apologize for any confusion that resulted from our efforts to ensure that agency information is presented in easy-to-understand language. 

View previous version of FAQ pdf icon[PDF – 735K]

To reduce radio frequency radiation near your body:

  • Get a hands-free headset that connects directly to your phone.
  • Use speaker-phone more often.
  • In the past, RF interfered with the operation of some pacemakers. If you have a pacemaker and are concerned about how your cell phone use may affect it, contact your health care provider.
What research is being done to learn more about cell phones and health?

Scientists are continuing to study the possible health effects of cell phone use. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently looking into how cell phones may affect:

  • Some types of tumors (a lump or growth)
  • Our eyes
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Headaches

In the News: Acoustic Neuroma

Scientists are looking into a possible link between cell phone use and certain types of tumor. One type is called an acoustic neuroma (“ah-COOS-tik nur-OH-ma”). This type of tumor grows on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. It doesn’t cause cancer, but it may lead to other health problems, like hearing loss. Another type scientists are looking into is called a glioma (“glee-OH-ma”). This is a tumor found in the brain or central nervous system of the body.

Where can I get more information about cell phones and health?

For more information, visit:

Page last reviewed: June 9, 2014