Monday, 17 June 2019

World Health Organization provides new advice on mobile technology health risks

WHO logoFurther studies on people who have used mobile phones for longer than 15 years are needed to rule out the possibility of any long-term adverse health effects from wireless signals, the United Nations health authority has said.

In response to a question posted online about health risks from mobile phones and base stations, the World Health Organization (WHO) said while there was no established link between mobile use and cancer, continued research should focus on long-term users and young people, who will be exposed to wireless signals for most of their lives.

“This is a question which WHO takes very seriously. Given the immense number of people who use mobile phones, even a small increase in the incidence of adverse effects on health could have major public health implications,” the WHO
online Q&A published in late September said.


The international health authority said because of mixed results in studies on the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer, more studies were needed to rule out any possible link between the disease and more than 15 years of phone use.

“Because exposure to the radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by mobile phones is generally more than a 1000 times higher than from base stations, and the greater likelihood of any adverse effect being due to handsets, research has almost exclusively been conducted on possible effects of mobile phone exposure,” the WHO said.

“Based on mixed epidemiological evidence on humans regarding an association between exposure to RF radiation from wireless phones and head cancers (glioma and acoustic neuroma), RF fields have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).”

“While an increased risk of brain tumours from the use of mobile phones is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk.”

“In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group and is currently assessing the health impact of RF fields on all studied endpoints.”

The WHO said while further research is needed to rule out the possibility of long-term health effects from mobile phone use, the research to date does not suggest mobile base stations are a health risk.

“Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease,” the WHO said.

By the end of 2014 the WHO is expected to deliver the findings of their Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) review, which is an overall risk assessment of all health outcomes of RF Fields used for mobile communication technologies.

The EHC is the next stage of review following the classification of RF Fields as a possible human carcinogen in June 2011 by IARC - the WHO’s cancer research body.

The WHO Q&A response said while there have been reports of other possible “health effects of using mobile phones including changes in brain activity, reaction times, and sleep patterns. These effects are minor and have no apparent health significance.”


Published 9/04/2014

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