Cellphone health risks uncertain
Brussels – Cellphone use is unlikely to cause cancer, although the effects of long-term use and on children are still unknown, according to an EU study released on Tuesday.
The review of scientific findings since a last EU study in March 2007 found that there was a lack of information on the full impact of so-called radio frequency fields, emitted by many hand-held wireless devices.
In light of the body of scientific evidence, exposure to such fields “is unlikely to lead to an increase in cancer in humans”, the European Commission’s independent scientific health risk committee concluded.
However, it also said that it was uncertain whether there is a cancer risk due to long-term exposure of over 10 years because cellphone use had not been widespread enough for such a long period to draw conclusions.
“Further studies are required to identify whether considerably longer-term… human exposure to such phones might pose some cancer risk,” the study said.
New data on possible links between cellphone use and cancer risks are expected to become available in 2009 with the publication of the long-awaited international Interphone study.
While the report found no effects from radio frequency fields on human and animal development, it said that “information on possible effects caused by RF fields in children is limited.”
However, the study confirmed earlier findings that extremely low frequency fields, emitted for example by high voltages transmission lines, are possibly cancer causing and might increase childhood leukaemia.
“New epidemiological studies indicate a possible increase in Alzheimer’s disease arising from exposure to ELF fields,” it said.
“Further epidemiological and laboratory investigations of this observation are needed.”