World Health Organization: Cell Radiation Can Possibly Cause Cancer

An international panel of experts says cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing details from dozens of published studies.

The statement was issued in Lyon, France, on Tuesday by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a weeklong meeting of experts. They reviewed possible links between cancer and the type of electromagnetic radiation found in cellphones, microwaves and radar.

The agency is the cancer arm of the World Health Organization and the assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.

The group classified cellphones in category 2B, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Other substances in that category include the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust.

Last year, results of a large study found no clear link between cellphones and cancer. But some advocacy groups contend the study raised serious concerns because it showed a hint of a possible connection between very heavy phone use and glioma, a rare but often deadly form of brain tumor. However, the numbers in that subgroup weren't sufficient to make the case.

The study was controversial because it began with people who already had cancer and asked them to recall how often they used their cellphones more than a decade ago.

In about 30 other studies done in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S., patients with brain tumors have not reported using their cellphones more often than unaffected people.

Because cellphones are so popular, it may be impossible for experts to compare cellphone users who develop brain tumors with people who don't use the devices. According to a survey last year, the number of cellphone subscribers worldwide has hit 5 billion, or nearly three-quarters of the global population.

People's cellphone habits have also changed dramatically since the first studies began years ago and it's unclear if the results of previous research would still apply today.

Since many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it's impossible to conclude cellphones have no long-term health risks. The studies conducted so far haven't tracked people for longer than about a decade.

Cellphones send signals to nearby towers via radio frequency waves, a form of energy similar to FM radio waves and microwaves. But the radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light. At very high levels, radio frequency waves from cellphones can heat up body tissue, but that is not believed to damage human cells.

According to Cancer Research U.K., the only health danger firmly connected to cellphones is a higher risk of car accidents. The group recommends children under 16 only use cellphones for essential calls because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

Also, a recent U.S. National Institutes of Health study found that cellphone use can speed up brain activity, but it is unknown whether that has any dangerous health effects.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Eric Location: Chocowinity on Jun 1, 2011 at 12:25 AM
    So they are really saying nothing at all. And anybody who thinks that by terminating their cellular contract over this will somehow increase their longevity is an idiot, pure and simple. For one, the rest of the cell phones will still be broadcasting those signals; ditto for the towers. The report also included radio waves, as well as microwaves. There is work being done on getting cell phones to use microwaves; this would pretty much end "dead zones" Verizon and others' customers experience in rural areas. And microwaves have been in service for decades now. Resources and human effort would be better served finding a cure for cancer. How about that, WHO?
  • by I Wonder... on May 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM
    Is the radiation from the nuclear meltdown in Japan (now circling the globe) worse than the cell phones? I know it's a different kind of exposure, but, still...
  • by I Fought the Law on May 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM
    What kind of reporting is this called??? The title says cell phone use can possibly cause cancer, then the entire article says there hasn't been enough studies or enough evidence to support any findings.....what a load of gargle. And to make things even more clearer than mud it groups cell phones in the same class as the chemical DDT!!! Please would somebody just fire the all the zombies in the WHO.

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 122879224 -
Gray Television, Inc.