Bacon, sausages, and ham are the new entrants on the World Health Organization’s most carcinogenic substances, ranking right next to cigarettes as a major cause of cancer. Cured and processed meats are now included in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco, as the WHO says that new evidence links them to colorectal cancer. More →
The results of a recent European study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that there is no connection between cell phone use and an increased risk of brain cancer, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. There were 1,000 participants in the study, including 352 people aged seven to nineteen who were diagnosed with a brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. The report “shows that a large and immediate risk of cellphones causing brain tumors in children can be excluded,” Dr. Martin Roosli, an epidemiologist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute said. The results are in contradiction of a recent World Health Organization study, which said that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” However, the WHO report was shot down immediately by the Economist, which said it was not possible for cell phone radio waves to cause cells to mutate, and a second report in Environmental Health Perspectives that argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” One World Health Organization cancer epidemiologist, Kurt Straif, told The Wall Street Journal that the results from the latest survey may not be 100% accurate. “Participants with brain cancer may not have the best recall for how often they used their phones,” he argued.
The city of San Francisco has approved an ordinance that will require cell phone retailers to warn customers about the dangers of cell phone radiation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. The ordinance, which was passed in a 10-1 vote, asks that phone retailers “post general warnings” about risks. It’s unclear what exactly will be required of the retailers, and researchers have flip-flopped on whether or not there are any real risks associated with mobile wireless devices. On May 31st, the World Health Organization published a report that said cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic,” but The Economist fired back shortly after and said there’s no way the devices cause cancer. A second group wrote published a separate report in an issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” A similar law was passed last year that required cell phone makers to publish specific absorption rate (SAR) figures on boxes of cell phones, but the CTIA sued before the law took effect. More →
In May the World Health Organization published a report that said cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” Last month The Economist published a different report suggesting it simply wasn’t possible for the radio waves emitted by a cell phone to cause cells to mutate. Now, another group of research experts from Britain, the United States, and Sweden — who have studied the WHO report — are also arguing that there’s no connection between cell phones and cancer. “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 group said in a recent report published in Environmental Health Perspectives. According to Reuters, a number of other studies have also been unable to find a link between increases in brain tumors and cell phones in the 10 years since cell phones have become commonplace. “This is a really difficult issue to research,” David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge told Reuters. Spiegelhalter was not part of the study but said that it’s “clear that any risk appears to be so small that it is very hard to detect — even in the masses of people now using mobile phones.” More →
Following a report issued late last month by the World Health Organization suggesting cell phones may be carcinogenic, The Economist has published a response column dismissing the report as overblown. According to the report, low-frequency microwaves such as those emitted by cell phones simply do not have enough power to produce anything but extremely low levels of heat. “No matter how powerful the transmitter, radio waves simply cannot produce ionising radiation,” the column reads. “Only gamma rays, X-rays and extreme ultra-violet waves, which operate in the far (ie, high-frequency) end of the electromagnetic spectrum, along with fission fragments and other particles from within an atom, and cosmic rays (those particles’ equivalents from outer space) are energetic enough to knock electrons off other atoms to break chemical bonds and produce dangerous molecules called free radicals. It is these highly reactive free radicals that damage a person’s DNA, causing mutation, radiation sickness, cancer and death, depending on the dose.” The energy carried by these microwaves, the report contends, is approximately one million times too weak to produce free radicals. More →
Following the World Health Organization’s revelation last week that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use,” Jabra has issued an easy fix: instead of putting a cell phone to your ear and possibly getting a brain tumor, use one of its Bluetooth headsets. Jabra says its headsets emit 800 times less radiation than cell phones — just 0.0025 watts max output compared to 2 watts max from cell phones. In a Jabra-sponsored survey, 61% said cell phone radiation only concerned them “a little bit” or “to some extent” and 25% said they were not at all concerned. But when informed that using a Bluetooth headset has been scientifically proven to drastically reduce exposure to radiation, more than half of the respondents said they would use a hands-free device. Hit the break for Jabra’s press release. More →
According to a new report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, “radio frequency electromagnetic fields” are “possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.” The agency met with with 31 scientists from 14 countries from May 24th through May 31st, 2011 to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards of cell phone usage. The report said that the results were “evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma,” and that it was not relevant to finding conclusions for whether or not cell phones can cause other types of cancers. “Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones,” IARC Director Chrisopher Wild said. “Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting.” The full report will be published on July 1 in The Lancet Oncology. More →