Electromagnetic fields from mobile telephones could possibly lead to cancer – UN

31 May 2011

Exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile telephones could possibly cause cancer, including an increased risk in a malignant type of brain tumour, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

Exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile telephones could possibly cause cancer, including an increased risk in a malignant type of brain tumour, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

There has been mounting concern the past few years about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless communication devices. The number of mobile phone subscriptions is now estimated at 5 billion globally.

A working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries has been meeting at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

The working group discussed the possibility that these exposures might induce long-term health effects, in particular an increased risk for glioma, a type of brain cancer, according to WHO and IARC. This has relevance for public health, particularly for users of mobile telephones, as the number of users is large and growing, particularly among young adults and children.

The working group discussed and evaluated the available literature on the following exposure categories involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields – occupational exposures to radar and to microwaves; environmental exposures associated with transmission of signals for radio, television and wireless telecommunication; and personal exposures associated with the use of wireless telephones.

International experts shared the complex task of tackling the exposure data, the studies of cancer in humans, the studies of cancer in experimental animals, and the mechanistic and other relevant data.

 

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