Just a month ago the International Agency for Research on Cancer made headlines by adding the radiation from cell phones to its list of substances that are "possibly carcinogenic to humans." While that designation puts cell phone radiation on par with coffee, it nonetheless reignited the debate about the potential for non-ionizing radiation to cause brain tumors.
Now, a research group, chaired by a member of the British Institute of Cancer Research, has concluded that the research to date shows little evidence of a link between cell phones and brain cancers. "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 researchers write of their review of the available science in Environmental Health Perspectives.
The evidence: "Studies from several countries have shown no indication of increases in brain tumor incidence up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones and 10 years after their use became widespread. Extensive research has also not established any biological mechanism by which radiofrequency fields from mobile phones could cause cancer, and animal experiments have also shown no evidence for cancer causation."
Open questions remain, however, about the possible effects of longer-term use, since the study relies on data from only 15 years of usage, and only 10 years of heavy usage since the use of mobile devices became widespread and common. And, the report cites a lack of evidence about the possible effects of cell phone use in children.
And the study itself has been criticized because funders included members of the wireless industry.
To limit exposure to cell phone radiation, Environmental Working Group recommends people:
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