Cell phones and cancer

Hmmm… Something to think about.

A World Health Organization panel has concluded that cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic,” weighing in on the ongoing and often murky scientific debate about whether widespread cellphone use may be linked to cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said there is enough evidence for the new classification of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, which puts the widely used devices in the same category as certain dry-cleaning chemicals and pesticides as a potential health threat.

But James McNamee, a research scientist at Health Canada’s electromagnetics division and member of IARC’s working group, said it is vital to put the new classification in perspective.

“The best way to define this is it’s a recognition that there is some evidence from human studies and from animal studies.

“It’s very important to state that this evidence is far from established and it’s far from causal, but it is a recognition that a lot of work has been done, a great deal of work has been reviewed and it’s a statement of where the science is in time,” Dr. McNamee said in an interview.

(…)

The decision flagged results of an IARC study showing a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of cellphone users. This was calculated as a reported average use of 30 minutes per day over a 10-year period. (Source)

As a footnote, you’ll notice that this announcement from the World Health Organization, despite its caveats, got front page news coverage and will likely continue to be discussed for months. But when the WHO made a much stronger and definitive pronouncement about oral contraceptives being carcinogenic, how many news outlets bothered to report that?

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