Cell Phone Debate Continues

Just weeks after the World Health Organization declared that mobile phones may cause cancer, a review of the literature finds no evidence to support the claim.

Jul 6, 2011
Jef Akst

FLICKR, MEDIATEJACK

A large-scale literature review by researchers in the United States and Europe finds that there is no convincing data to suggest that cell phones are carcinogenic. Furthermore, the researchers argue that there’s no known mechanism by which the radio signals from phones could cause cancer.

Just last month, a panel of experts commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted their own literature review and concluded, based primarily on epidemiological data comparing cancer patients and disease-free individuals, that electromagnetic fields given off by cell phones may cause brain cancer. But the new study, published last week (July 1) in Environmental Health Perspectives, begs to differ. "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 authors wrote.

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also considers things whose cancer risk that cannot be proved or disproved—including lead, pickled vegetables, coffee and dry cleaning—possible carcinogens, Reuters reports,. (Hat tip to FierceBiotech)