Cellphones shown to be “possibly carcenogenic”

An article in today’s Washington Post reports that an international panel of experts organized by the World Health Organization says the radiation from cellphones is “possibly carcinogenic.”

After an extensive review of scientific evidence during an eight-day meeting in Lyon, France, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – which included 31 scientists from fourteen countries – reached its conclusion.

A rating of “possibly carcinogenic” is the IARC’s third-highest rating, falling below “carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic.”

The IARC’s assessment now goes before the entire WHO and other national health agencies to determine possible guidelines for cellphone use.

There is evidence that heavy cellphone use is linked to several types of brain cancer

After their week-long meeting, the panel said there was some evidence that cellphone use was linked to two types of brain tumors but cautioned that there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions for other types of cancer.

Although a controversial study in 2010 showed no clear link between cell phones and cancer, some advocacy groups contend it did raise concerns of a possible connection between heavy cellphone use and a rare but deadly form of brain cancer called glioma. As many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it’s impossible to conclude cellphones have no long-term health risks.

Earlier this year, a U.S. National Institutes of Health study found that cellphone use can speed up brain activity, but it’s unknown if that can cause any dangerous health effects.

This isn’t a new conversation. We reported a story in late 2009 on the findings of the Environmental Working Group outlining radiation risks posed by a wide range of cellphones. It will be interesting to see what action, if any, the WHO or other agencies decide to take on this issue.

Will the WHO create guidelines to help minimize radiation espoxure from cellphones?

Information on how radiation is transmitted via cellphones has been available for sometime.

To officially state that cellphone use – even if heavy amounts – could be a direct cause of cancer is a statement sure to cause deep fear and panic within the multi-billion dollar global industry. One wonders too what impact the lobbying efforts and pressure from the large telecommunication giants will have on those decisions. We can only sit back and watch what happens.

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