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Health & Wellness, Science 

The Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

On May 31, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - an arm of the World Health Organization, issued a press release classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by mobile phones, as possibly carcinogenic to humans. This is based on limited evidence suggesting an increased risk for a malignant type of brain cancer known as glioma.

Read the complete IARC press release.

The IARC reached this decision after a group of scientists from around the world met to review the scientific literature available regarding exposure to radiofrequency fields (RFs). It should be noted the group’s conclusion was not the result of newly conducted research. Additionally, the group found that there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions for other types of cancers.

According to the group’s chairman, this new classification means "there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk". To provide some perspective, other common agents categorized as "possibly carcinogenic" are gasoline, lead, engine exhaust and coffee.

The IARC called for additional research into the effects of heavy, long-term mobile phone use and suggested that users take steps to reduce their levels of exposure.

Some relatively simple measures can help limit your RF exposure. First, understand that your cell phone only releases RF energy when it is in use and the closer the phone is to you, the more energy you will absorb. Therefore, you can reduce your risk by:

  • Holding the phone at an increased distance from your head
  • Reducing the proximity from your phone to your head by using a speakerphone or a headset
  • Texting, rather than talking.

You may also be interested in the following titles, available from the Springfield-Greene County Library:


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