Mobile phones, carcinogenic risk, and the HPA

Posted on April 26, 2012


The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) just published their new report entitled “Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields”. In summary, their advisory committee, not including any unexpected names, does not believe of increased cancer risk of using cell phones. The full report can be downloaded for free here. This of course got wide coverage in the media, and from the following Guardian blog (link) I copied what I hope is a direct quote of the HPA’s conclusion:

The overall results of epidemiological studies to date do not demonstrate that the use of mobile phones causes brain tumours or any other type of malignancy, nor do they suggest that causation is likely. They give considerable evidence against a material causal effect on brain tumour risk within 10 years since first use, and to a lesser extent within 15 years, but give far less information about longer periods. There is very limited information on risks of childhood tumours.

As mobile phone use has proved very difficult to measure retrospectively in recall-based studies, and has become ubiquitous over a relatively short period of time, considerable weight needs to be given to evidence from national brain tumour incidence trends. So far, these give no indication of any risk, but continued surveillance of them is not difficult and would be valuable.

Blatantly copied from the same blog, some links to the conclusions from the press:

No clear evidence that mobile phone radiation damages health (The Guardian website)

‘No evidence’ of mobile phone cancer risk (The Independent)

‘No evidence’ that mobile phones damage your health, unless you use them while driving (Daily Mail website)

Restrict your child’s mobile use until risks known, parents told (The Times £)

Mobiles may cause cancer, study says (The Telegraph)

The Telegraph can’t even agree with itself – its website headline is: ‘No evidence’ that mobiles cause cancer – but scientists still can’t rule it out


As usual when we are dealing with carcinogenic risk of mobile phones, the comments below the articles are very entertaining as well. Thank God (or anyone else who deals with these things) for the virtues of anonymous replies to newspaper articles. There is one I thought I should not withhold from you, given its let’s call it “alternative explanation of scientific data”:

I think there is too much focus on cancer, which is largely a vitamin deficiency disease where people have little or no B17