An international panel of experts says cell phones are possible cancer-causing agents and classified them with the pesticide DDT, gasoline engine exhaust and coffee. (How are DDT and coffee in the same category?)
“The classification was issued Tuesday in Lyon, France, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a review of dozens of published studies. The agency is an arm of the World Health Organization and its assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.”
“Classifying agents as “possibly carcinogenic” doesn’t mean they automatically cause cancer and some experts said the ruling shouldn’t change people’s cellphone habits.”
” ‘Anything is a possible carcinogen,’ said Donald Berry, a professor of biostatistics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. He was not linked to the WHO cancer group. “This is not something I worry about and it will not in any way change how I use my cellphone,” he said — from his cellphone.”
“After a week-long meeting, the expert panel said there was limited evidence cellphone use was linked to two types of brain tumors and inadequate evidence to draw conclusions for other cancers.”
” ‘We found some threads of evidence telling us how cancers might occur, but there were acknowledged gaps and uncertainties,’ said Jonathan Samet, the panel’s chairman.”
” ‘The WHO’s verdict means there is some evidence linking mobile phones to cancer but it is too weak to draw strong conclusions from,’ said Ed Yong, head of health information at Cancer Research U.K. ‘If such a link exists, it is unlikely to be a large one…’ “
“Cellphones send signals to nearby towers via radio frequency waves, a form of energy similar to FM radio waves and microwaves. But the radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light. At very high levels, radio frequency waves from cellphones can heat up body tissue, but that is not believed to damage human cells.”
“Some experts recommended people use a headset or earpiece if they are worried about the possible health dangers of cellphones. “If there is a risk, most of it goes away with a wireless earpiece,” said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.”
“Brawley said people should focus on the real health hazards of cellphones. “Cellphones may cause brain tumors but they kill far more people through automobile accidents,” he said. Brawley added it was also reasonable to limit children’s use of cellphones since their brains are still developing.”
This particular study doesn’t make me worry anymore about cell phone use than I did before. They’re placing it in a category with coffee – that doesn’t seem too threatening. (However DDT doesn’t sound good – how can coffee be in the same category as DDT? Hmm.)
I do try to use an earpiece instead of holding the phone to my head. It is for convenience but also just in case. What I am not clear on is does the Bluetooth produce anything that could cause problems since it is electrical vs a headset with a wire where there is nothing electrical there.
My kids aren’t of age to use a cellphone but I do think I would be more concerned about them using one versus an adult. Maybe there will be more conclusive studies by the time they are old enough to use them.
Do you worry about possible cancer from cell phones? Do you try to use a earpiece of that reason?
Does this study make you worry more, less or no differently?
Do you worry about your teens or kids being on cell phones?