Cell phones and Cancer…and 2B it is

Posted on June 9, 2011


Last week WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) finished the Monograph Meeting number 102 entitled: “Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part II: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields [includes mobile telephones]”. Of course, it shouldn’t come as no surprise that [includes mobile telephones] was what drew most attention from the public. MicroWave News kept an interesting and very detailed blog about the proceedings of the meeting as well as on all related issues (this can be found here).

Regardless, the international experts gathered reviewed all the available evidence and voted RF electromagnetic fields as a Class 2B carcinogen for glioma and acoustic neuroma; or in other words as The agent is possibly carcinogenic to humans. The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are possibly carcinogenic to humans. While the scientific evidence was judged as inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers.

In my opinion a very balanced, and not very unexpected outcome of this Monograph meeting. Of course “possibly carcinogenic” allows for quite different interpretations depending on your point of view.

At the end of the day, it turned out to be a busy week for me personally as well. I was interviewed about the results of the Monograph meeting and my interpretation on the 2B classification on Radio Europe (Spain I believe) and was also contacted by several (online) magazines about this issue. More specifically, the article in The Ecologist can be found here and the article in Down to Earth India should be available soon.

Despite the fact that much about the contribution of RF exposure from cell phones to increased carcinogenic risk  remains unknown, as far as environmental exposures (or occupational, depending on your job) go this one falls in the category “straightforward” when it comes to exposure reduction measures. If anyone is unsure about the potential adverse effects from the use of cell phones just call less…alternative, txting will reduce the exposure to the head as well just as the use of an earpiece will. It is all up to the individual in this case.

As long as you don’t use it while driving.

As to the standard question I seem to get from every journalists: “I am more of a txter or emailer myself, but when I call I don’t use an earpiece”…

Posted in: Public Health