Mobile Phone Usage May Induce Brain Cancer : WHO

The World Health Organization together with International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated withwireless phone use.

From May 24–31 2011, a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries has been meetingat IARC in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure toradiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

Mobile phone users may be at increased risk from brain cancer and should use texting and free-hands devices to reduce exposure WHO says.

Results

The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited2among users ofwireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate3to draw conclusions forother types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposuresmentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate therisk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increasedrisk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per dayover a 10‐year period).

Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the WorkingGroup, said that

“The evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support aconclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, andtherefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

IARCDirector Christopher Wild

“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings. it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is importantto take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting. “

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