W.H.O. classifies mobile phone use as ‘carcinogenic hazard’

“Radiation from cell phones could possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization,” Marguerite Reardon reports for CNET.

“In a report issued [yesterday], the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an arm of the WHO, said it now lists mobile phone use in the same category as lead, gasoline engine exhaust, and chloroform,” Reardon reports. “Officially, cell phone radiation is listed as a ‘carcinogenic hazard.'”

Reardon reports, “The CTIA, the wireless industry trade association in the U.S., was quick to point out that the WHO’s IARC did not say that cell phones definitely cause cancer. ‘IARC conducts numerous reviews and in the past has given the same score to, for example, pickled vegetables and coffee,’ John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA, said in a statement. ‘This IARC classification does not mean cell phones cause cancer. Under IARC rules, limited evidence from statistical studies can be found even though bias and other data flaws may be the basis for the results.’ The group also emphasized that the IARC’s determination was based on reviewed published studies and was not the result of new scientific research.”

“The new determination from the WHO’s IARC was established at a meeting in France where a team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, considered peer-reviewed studies about the safety of cell phones. The team said that it had found enough evidence to consider exposure to cell phone radiation as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans,'” Reardon reports. “The scientists reiterated what many in the field have said for years, which is that there are not enough long-term studies to decisively say one way or another whether cell phone radiation causes cancer. But there is enough data to show connections between exposure and health risks for consumers to be concerned.”

Much more in the full article here.

For further information, see CNET’s Special Report: Cell phone radiation: Harmless or health risk?


  1. In my conclusive study, 95% of adults who were diagnosed with brain cancer used cell phones.

    In other news, 97% of adults use cell phones. Prior to this study, in 1975, 95% of adults who were diagnosed with brain cancer reported using pay phones.

  2. Your headline is absolutely wrong and intentionally misleading.

    Your first sentence in your article clearly states: “Radiation from cell phones could possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization,” Marguerite Reardon reports for CNET.

    And the categories in the WHO are extremely broad. Just because something has been placed in one of these broad catefories does NOT mean that is just as carcinogenic as the worst case item in that category.

  3. i read about this. there is no proof. They base the claim on untestable statistics A cell phone is as likely to cause cancer as it is to cause a fire at a gas station. We are talking about milliwatts of microwave energy, which is swarming around us on a daily bases, let along from a cell phone. We have been using microwave energy since the 50s and even earlier. In a cell phone, the most it will ever do is heat your head. Don’t use it that much.

    Look at the highest rate cell users, are they reporting a higher rate cancer? No. It kind of gets the same bad rap as Sacrin. It’s technology fear mongering.

    1. There is too, proof: “all cancers are caused by mutant strands of DNA. Electromagnetic radiation can’t create mutant strands of DNA unless the frequency is at or higher than the blue limit of the visible spectrum the near-ultraviolet. The frequency of cell phone radiation is about 1 million times too low.”
      -via University of Maryland Physics professor Bob Park.

      So there is proof, proof that cell phones cannot cause, and never will cause cancer.

      This study is 100% pure horse #$#$(*. The WHO has officially turned into the World Weekly News.

      1. You are absolutely right, the trouble is that quantum physics is not really understood by most people. Maybe MDN should post an article that explains all that in layman’s terms.

      2. This is nonsense. Cancers can be caused by mutations, BUT they may also be caused by epigenetic mechanisms, which do not involve mutations. Do your homework – what you wrote is wrong, misleading, and by now there are massive textbooks about cancer that is caused by mechanisms other than mutagenesis.

    2. Radiation follows the inverse square and most people hold cell phones right next to their heads. The output doesn’t travel far and what is important is the absorbed dose-not the output.
      Studies have already shown a significant relationship between long time heavy cell users and acoustic neuromas (benign tumors) that match the side of the subject’s dominant hand.
      The cell phone industry has been pulling a Tobacco Institute on this issue for a long time. Be safe and use the speakerphone or earbuds as much as possible.

  4. Under their classification system, “carcinogenic hazard” basically just means that it’s a possible carcinogen, there is some evidence to suggest it, but the evidence is not strong or conclusive at this point.

    We can expect many years of studies and counter-studies before there is any consensus. That’s just the way science is. 50 years ago we didn’t know how harmful tobacco was, but there were early, non-conclusive signs, and it took a lot of study before the cause and effect was established.

    WHO isn’t overreacting, but the media and the internet echo-chamber sure are.

    1. Actually, 50 years ago, there was strong evidence that cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of lung and other cancers. The Surgeon General report came out in 1964 based on a large data set going back to the early 50’s.

    1. Why are you blaming the French? The only connection to France is that the meeting of scientists was held there. Would you blame Americans if the meeting had been held there?

  5. Geez, MDN for someone who always has a conniption if someone misplaces a capital letter in the name of any of Apple’s products, you’d think you’d be a bit more careful with “WHO”…Never heard of W.H.O., is that like U.N.C.L.E. (gawd, I’m old)?

    1. That’s OK, ottawamark. Most people only hear of the W.H.O. when they decide to release a new dire warning about some not-so-new mass disease/world health epidemic that never seems to arrive. Other than that, they really don’t do much (kinda like the rest of the United Nations).

  6. Cell Phones use non-ionizing radiation that is too weak to break chemical bonds or affect DNA. So says the morning paper. They went on to say that if cell phone radiation is causing cancer no one has any idea how.

    Note also that it has been classified as a “possible carcinogen”. Not for sure.

    1. If I recall correctly, the only “evidence” really was lab rats which were exposed to something like 100 or 1000 times the radiation from a cell phone for some hugely extended time period, like 4 days straight, and it slightly increased their risk of getting brain cancer. And it had to be kept right next to their ear for that time period.

      I guess that means that only teenagers are at risk. 🙂

      But not the texting ones. 😉

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