ARPANSA response to Interphone

Statement from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on Release of World Health Organisation Report on INTERPHONE Study.

ARPANSA welcomes the publication of the first complete results from the multinational INTERPHONE study into whether there are links between certain brain tumours and mobile phone use.

On the basis of current understanding of the relationship between brain cancer and use of mobile phones, including the recently published data from the INTERPHONE study, ARPANSA:

  • concludes that currently available data do not warrant any general recommendation to limit use of mobile phones in the adult population;
  • continues to inform those concerned about potential health effects that they may limit their exposure by reducing call time, by making calls where reception is good, by using hands-free devices or speaker options, or by texting; and
  • recommends that, due to the lack of any data relating to children and long term use of mobile phones, parents encourage their children to limit their exposure by reducing call time, by making calls where reception is good, by using hands-free devices or speaker options, or by texting.

Background

ARPANSA notes that the results of the INTERPHONE study do not establish an increased risk of brain cancer related to mobile phone use.

There are suggestions of an association between use of mobile phone and brain cancer (most pronounced for glioma) in the group representing individuals with the highest cumulative call time. Limitations of the methodology prevent conclusions of causality being drawn from these observations.

However, in relation to the observations in the group with the highest cumulative call time, ARPANSA notes that the use of mobile phones has increased among young people and children. This means that the cumulative call time in this group is likely to become greater than in large parts of the adult population covered by the study published today. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require monitoring and further study.

In the absence of conclusive data, especially related to children, ARPANSA suggests the precautionary measures indicated above. ARPANSA acknowledges that children may need to have mobile phones and use them in many situations. The precautionary measures relate to the use of the mobile phones against the head.

The current ARPANSA Standard includes a requirement to minimize unnecessary exposure of the public to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. ARPANSA, with the help of Australian scientists, will carefully examine the results of the INTERPHONE study. Together with the large amount of scientific research published in the last 10 years, the results published today of the INTERPHONE study will help ARPANSA decide whether a review of its current exposure standard for radiofrequency radiation is warranted.

Date: 17 May 2010

MEDIA ENQURIES:

Ms Kay McNiece - (02) 6289 7400