Irish Cancer Society Response

Irish Cancer Society Statement on International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/ World Health Organisation (WHO) study on radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and cancer.

3 June 2011

Yesterday, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, emitted by mobile phones, as Group 2B* carcinogenic. This means that there is potential for harm from mobile phones but there is insufficient evidence to say there is a direct effect.

IARC drew these conclusions having invited over 30 experts to review all the data so far on mobile phone usage in a number of research studies. IARC states that evidence of a possible association between mobile phone usage and cancer is limited and is linked to two types of brain cancers, glioma and acoustic neuroma, but is inadequate to draw conclusions for other cancers.

The Irish Cancer Society agrees with IARC’s recommendations that further research on the impact of mobile phone usage needs to be carried out - however people should be aware of the possible risk of mobile phone usage. The Irish Cancer Society also agrees with their recommendation that until more conclusive information becomes available people are advised to limit exposure to the potential harm by using hands-free devices or texting.

*Group 2B carcinogen

Group 2B means that there is some evidence for a risk but it’s not that conclusive. A Group 2B carcinogen is classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. It means there is limited evidence that something causes cancer in people, and even the evidence from animal studies is less than sufficient for a conclusive position.