International Panel Sees Possible Cancer Threat From Cellphones

An international scientific panel has labeled cellphones “possibly carcinogenic.” That’s the same designation that such familiar items as pickled vegetables and coffee have, but some experts believe that the potential health risks of wireless devices now will get increasing attention.

The assessment by the World Health Organization panel, a group of 31 scientists from 14 countries, was based on previous studies on the effects of the low levels of radiation emitted by cellphones.

As The New York Times reports, the group particularly drew on a 13-country study called Interphone published in March, 2010. It collected data on mobile phone users with at least 10 years of exposure and raised the possibility of a link to glioma, a rare brain cancer.

The study said “there were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels,” but stopped short of stating that cellphone use causes the disease. Instead, the study concluded that the “effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.”

As such, the WHO panel placed cellphones in the “possibly carcinogenic” category that includes certain pesticides, lead and engine exhaust, as well as pickles and coffee.

The classification “does not mean cellphones cause cancer,’’ John Walls, vice president for public affairs for the wireless industry trade group CTIA, said in a statement.

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have said research on cellphones and health has been reassuring, the Times noted. Health concerns about cellphones have been minimized in the past because the devices emit non-ionizing radiation, energy waves considered to be too weak to break chemical bonds or cause DNA damage leading to cancers.

At the same time, research published earlier this year found that the weak radio frequency signals from cellphones can speed brain activity near the phone antenna, raising the possibility that there are other ways that the devices could cause harm.

All told, “A precautionary approach is the best policy,” said Henry C. Lai, a University of Washington expert on electromagnetic fields. “If people use cellphones, they should consider using an earpiece. Just keep the phone away from the head.”

Related Posts:
European Panel Wants Cellphones, Wi-Fi Out of Schools
Cellphone Use Keeps the Brain Busy, But Does It Do Harm?
Cellphone Industry Retaliates After San Francisco Passes Radiation Law

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2 comments to “International Panel Sees Possible Cancer Threat From Cellphones”

  1. Arya

    If this research is proven, will cellphone companies be liable to health damages? Is it possible to sue these companies just like what one man did to McDonald’s for making fat? *random thoughts* :-) Mac Review

  2. Steven Jones

    Apparently they found that there is the possibility that cell phone radiation is carcinogenic. Imagine how life would be without phones? I think it’s best to seek alternative solutions, although there is a possibility, it is better safe than sorry and take some radiation protection

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