The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer met this week in Lyon, France to analyze health-risk data regarding the electromagnetic fields generated by cell phones. Their initial report was published this week, concluding that the chronic use of cell phones could be “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. The group didn’t do any primary research themselves; rather, they reviewed the published literature to draw their conclusion. The group concluded that, “Over the last few years, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless communication devices… (and that) the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion… that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”
This statement is a far cry from drawing a direct link between cell phone use and cancer. But, the report also made some recommendations that, pending the availability of more research, it makes sense to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as using hands‐free devices or texting (electromagnetic fields drop off exponentially with distance, meaning that even moving the phone a few centimeters away from the head drops the exposure dramatically). A concise report summarizing the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group and the evaluations of the carcinogenic hazard from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (including the use of mobile telephones) will be published in a few days in The Lancet Oncology.
And remember, the most important thing to remember is to avoid distracted driving, which is an absolute and clear danger (to yourself and others).