05 July 2011

Cell phones not as carcinogenic as thought

Recent scientific evidence suggests that the link between mobile phones may not be as carcinogenic as previously argued.


Recent scientific evidence suggests that the mobile phones may not be as carcinogenic as previously argued.

A major review of a previous published research by a committee of experts from Britain, the United States and Sweden concluded there was no convincing evidence of any cancer connection. It also found a lack of established biological mechanisms by which radio signals from mobile phones might trigger tumours.

"Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults," the experts wrote in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The latest paper comes just two months after the World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided cell phone use should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

Anthony Swerdlow of Britain's Institute of Cancer Research, who led the new review, said that the two positions were not necessarily contradictory, since the IARC needed to put mobile phones into a pre-defined risk category.

"We are trying to say in plain English what we believe the relationship is. They (IARC) were trying to classify the risk according to a pre-set classification system," Swerdlow said.

Other things deemed by the IARC to be possibly carcinogenic include items as diverse as lead, pickled vegetables and coffee.

Mobile phone use has risen enormously since the early 1980s, with nearly 5 billion handsets in use today, and controversy about their potential link to the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma, has never been far away.

(Reuters Healt, Ben Hirschler, July 2011)

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