WHO declares cellphones “possibly carcinogenic” — ars technica by John Timmer


Those who are worried about the possible health risks of cellphones just received some backing from a significant source: the World Health Organization. A group within the organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has announced it is listing the electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic.” The IARC’s use of the term “possibly” is key to the decision, as its expert panel determined that the information available is too limited to say anything with a greater degree of certainty, but is sufficient to warrant careful monitoring.

The designation is the result of a meeting held last week that brought 31 health researchers together to evaluate the conclusions that can be drawn from current research, including unpublished information from the Interphone study. The conclusions will eventually appear in The Lancet Oncology, but the IARC has issued a press release ahead of publication.

As we recently discussed, the wavelengths used for cellular communications are only known to influence human tissue via heating, and the researchers involved with the designation do not propose anything new here. The panel also recognizes that most of the epidemiological research involving human exposure to radio frequencies is ambiguous; for all but two types of cancer, the current state of information is officially deemed “inadequate.”

From DSC:
Though the evidence doesn’t seem to be very threatening, I’d rather be safe than sorry here. For me, a practical application that I take from this is to not use the cell phone if I can use a land line close by.