Swedish Review Strengthens Grounds for Concluding that Radiation from ￼Cellular and Cordless Phones is a Probable Human Carcinogen
With 5.9 billion devices in use, mobile phones constitute a new, ubiquitous and rapidly growing exposure worldwide. Mobile phones are two-way microwave radios that also emit low levels of electromagnetic radiation. Inconsistent results have been published on potential risks of brain tumours tied with mobile phone use as a result of important methodological differences in study design and statistical power. Some studies have examined mobile phone users for periods of time that are too short to detect an increased risk of brain cancer, while others have misclassified exposures by placing those with exposures to microwave radiation from cordless phones in the control group, or failing to attribute such exposures in the cases. In 2011, the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) advised that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone and other wireless devices constitutes a “possible human carcinogen,” 2B. Recent analyses not considered in the IARC review that take into account these methodological shortcomings from a number of authors find that brain tumour risk is significantly elevated for those who have used mobile phones for at least a decade. Studies carried out in Sweden indicate that those who begin using either cordless or mobile phones regularly before age 20 have greater than a 4-fold increased risk of ipsilateral glioma. Given that treatment for a single case of brain cancer can cost between $100,000 for radiation therapy alone and up to $1 million depending on drug costs, resources to address this illness are already in short supply and not universally available in either developing or developed countries. Significant additional shortages in oncology services are expected at the current growth of cancer. No other environmental carcinogen has produced evidence of an increased risk in just one decade. Empirical data have shown a difference in the dielectric properties of tissues as a function of age, mostly due to the higher water content in children’s tissues. High resolution computerized models based on human imaging data suggest that children are indeed more susceptible to the effects of EMF exposure at microwave frequencies. If the increased brain cancer risk found in young users in these recent studies does apply at the global level, the gap between supply and demand for oncology services will continue to widen. Many nations, phone manufacturers, and expert groups, advise prevention in light of these concerns by taking the simple precaution of “distance” to minimize exposures to the brain and body. We note than brain cancer is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”; the rest of the body is also showing effects other than cancers.