Gab away, cellphone users, because a panel of independent experts is not convinced that cellphones cause cancer in adults.
In fact, the evidence is “increasingly against” linking cellphones to cancer, the experts concluded after examining research from around the globe. Brain tumors have not increased in step with cellphone use, and animal experiments have come up empty. There may not even be a biological mechanism that creates cancer from radio frequency fields.
The study, conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s standing committee on epidemiology, was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal.
The experts’ conclusion might appear to conflict with the World Health Organization, which in May determined that cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic.” But beyond the splashy headlines, the WHO was actually saying that there’s limited evidence of cellphones causing cancer. The group placed cellphones in a category called IARC Group 2B, which also includes coffee and pickled vegetables.
Unburdened by the need to categorize, the new study clearly states that evidence of cellphones causing cancer is practically nonexistent. “We are trying to say in plain English what we believe the relationship is,” Anthony Swerdlow of Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research, who led the study, told Reuters.
Still, the experts are leaving themselves a bit of wiggle room, noting that current data only covers 10 to 15 years of cellphone use, and that data on childhood cellphone use is not available.
“If there are no apparent effects on trends in the next few years, after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it will become increasingly implausible that there is a material causal effect,” Swerdlow said in a press release. “Conversely, if there are unexplained rising trends, there will be a case to answer.”