There has been some sensationalism in the news and blogs the last few days around a recent WHO report from their International Agency for Research on Cancer. Eeek, cancer! Cell phones! Possible carcinogen!
Let’s not get in a panic here. The report just summarizes research over the last decade or so on the effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields such as those used by cell phones – this is not new research, just a field survey of the existing stuff.
What the report actually says that there isn’t enough evidence, given the various unknowns, to completely rule out mobile phones and that “given the potential consequences for public health, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones.” (IARC Director Christopher Wild). The current evidence is in fact inadequate for demonstrating a link between cancer and cell phone use, but not conclusive enough to completely rule it out.
To give you a little perspective on this, WHO puts cellphone use in the same carcinogen risk category as (drumroll, please): COFFEE! and… PICKLES! So please, let’s not run around screaming that the sky is falling just yet.