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Mobile Phones may cause Brain Cancer

Updated at: Jun 06, 2011
Written by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Jun 06, 2011
Mobile Phones may cause Brain Cancer

Prolonged mobile phone usage can lead to brain cancer.

Man using mobileUsing mobile for long can lead to a form of brain cancer, a study carried out by World Health Organisation has stated. A research wing of WHO has come out with a study which examined the possibility of carcinogenic effect of certain substances. It has categorised gasoline engine exhaust, lead, DDT and cellphones as “possibly carcinogenic”.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, working under WHO, however, also added that there was no extensive evidence as yet to conclusively establish cell phone usage as the cause of cancer. Despite this, the WHO-IARC team reiterates that radiofrequency of the electromagnetic fields increases the risk for glioma, a malignant form of brain cancer.

31 scientists from 14 countries in the IARC team observed “hundreds of epidemiological studies” carried out throughout the world to determine the adverse health effects of prolonged exposure to radio frequency of cellphone’s electromagnetic fields. IARC chief has said that there is reason for concern even though the link between cellphone usage and the malignant brain cancer has not been firmly established.

Risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma (life-threatening tumor) was examined by going over the data under study. The reports from hundreds of studies are the basis of the conclusion that the two types of cancer can be caused. There was no data available to suggest that it could lead to other types of cancers.

The IARC’s chief of this study, Dr. Kurt Straif said, “...there is just a possibility of a link between high cellphone use and brain cancer, not a certainty. We also don't know how much radiation exposure can be termed harmful”. Some rough estimates are that mobile usage for 1600 hours of active call time over a period of 10 years puts a person at highest risk.

IARC was embarked on this project considering the increase of cellphone usage throughout the world with close to five billion subscribers worldwide. A lot of concerns have been sounding from all corners of the world regarding the possible health hazards posed by the electromagnetic field of mobile phones. In view of the lack of concrete evidence, the IARC director, Christopher Wild, offered a workable solution, “It is important that additional research be conducted into the long term use of mobile phones. Pending such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands free devices or texting.”

Similar research is underway in India too with the Indian Council of Medical Research, JNU’s School of Environmental Sciences and Departments of Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Neurology and Biochemistry of AIIMS joining hands to conduct a 5 year long study on health impact of cellphone use.




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