A cellular phone
The WHO recently released a report that cellular phones may cause cancer, though data is inconclusive. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A study released by the World Health Organization indicates that cellular phones could cause cancer. The WHO hasn’t found any confirmed cases of cell phone use causing cancer, yet the study found that it is possible for radiation from cell phones to cause tumors.

Direct evidence still lacking

The World Health Organization has released a report compiled by researchers from 14 different countries, concerning the possibility that cellular phone use could lead to cancer, reports CNN. It has been discussed for years, and studies are starting to come out suggesting that it could be possible. However, there are no confirmed cases of cancers caused by cellular phone radiation.

The study was done through the WHO’s cancer research wing, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, according to MSNBC. The report is technically a review of previous literature; researchers gathered together for a conference in Lyon, France, for a week-long conference and looked at all the scientific data that was available concerning microwave radiation like the kind emitted by cellular phones, concluding that it was at least plausible.

Same time, last year

The WHO released a report in 2010 that held essentially the same conclusion that cell phones may cause tumors. The 2010 cell phone study found that people who used cellular phones heavily for 10 years or more showed increased instances of certain types of brain cancer when compared with those who used less or not at all. Yet that study, per the Food and Drug Administration, couldn’t establish a direct link between cellular phone use and tumor growth. It was considered a coincidence that more cancer was observed among heavy cell phone users.

The methodology of studies about cell phone use and brain cancer has often been called into question. The subjects already have cancer, but have to recall their cellular phone use over a decade. The 2010 study, according to The Telegraph, looked at people that had glioma, a type of tumor that originates in the spine. However, it did find that heavy cell phone users had higher instances of glioma than casual users and non-users.

As dangerous as car exhaust

The WHO classifies cellular phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It is included in the same category as car exhaust and the pesticide DDT. Cellular phones emit microwave radiation, similar to that used by microwave ovens. Some scientists think that cell phones used in close proximity to one’s head is akin to “cooking” brain cells. Though no study has conclusively proven that cell phones cause cancer, that doesn’t mean that the WHO is incorrect in assuming the potential is there. Studies have shown, according to WebMD, that cell phone radiation excites brain cells, and that the areas of the brain that receive the highest doses can start having trouble processing glucose, a sugar that is used by the brain as fuel.


CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html?hpt=op_c1

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43225917/ns/health-cancer/

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8548725/Mobile-phones-possibly-carcinogenic-say-World-Health-Organisation-experts.html

Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm212273.htm

WebMD: http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2011/04/cell-phone-radiation-is-it-dangerous.html


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