UN study shows cell phone use may increase cancer risk

LYON, FRANCE (BNO NEWS) — Cell phone use might be a possible cause of cancer, according to a recently released study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), with the collaboration of the United Nations’ (UN) World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the the study, classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields could possibly be carcinogenic to humans based on “an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer,” which has been associated with the use of cell phones.

According to this recent study, a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries that have been meeting at IARC in Lyon, France from May 24 to Tuesday, exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields might induce long-term health effects, in particular an increased risk for cancer. 

Chairman of the Working Group, Dr. Jonathan Samet from the University of Southern California said that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion [...] that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

The IARC Monograph Working Group discussed and evaluated several areas involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as: occupational exposures to radar and to microwaves; environmental exposures associated with transmission of signals for radio, television and wireless telecommunication; and personal exposures associated with the use of wireless telephones. 

Nonetheless, after thorough analysis, the study said its overall evaluation was “limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers.”

The  evidence  from  the  occupational  and  environmental  exposures “was similarly judged inadequate,” the study added, explaining that the Working Group did not quantify the risk.

However, one study of past cell phone use - which dated up to the year 2004 - showed a 40 percent increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users, with a reported average of 30 minutes per day over a 10-year period.

With around 5 billion cell phones registered worldwide, increasing concerns regarding cell phone use and health effects have triggered different studies around the globe. Health concerns are also growing as cell phone use continues to become a more regular daily habit, particularly among young adults and children.

Meanwhile, IARC Director Christopher Wild said it was important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones.

“Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting,” Wild added.

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