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Are Cellphones really dangerous?

The declaration from International Agency for Research on Cancer that cellphone emissions are possibly carcinogenic is not only old "news" but it is not scientifically substantiated.  The conclusion IARC reached was based on a review of a set of published articles evaluating the effects of electromagnetic emissions on biological cells or animals.  Their classification would put cellphones in the category that includes the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust, and even caffine according to some studies.  This is not really “breaking news” in that this conclusion has been suggested by various groups for years, and even WHO has vacillated between accepting a conclusion of a possible risk and insufficient evidence of a risk for years.  The IARC working group has not done anything other than conclude that there is not enough evidence to declare absolutely that there is no risk from heavy cell phone use.  Based on the information at the IARC site, it seems that the working group may have been unduly influenced by a set of articles, based on one study – somewhat biased and flawed (as I understand) “the Interphone Study”, that was submitted just before the WG convened.  The primary approach being truly advocated is prudent avoidance (limited use, hands-free devices, etc.) even while acknowledging that other confounding factors have not been fully eliminated from published studies.

If you are interested in participating in discussions concerning human exposure to electromagnetic fields, you have several opportunities.  There is the US National Committee Technical Advisory Group for International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 106.  Contact the TAG Secretary Joan Woolery of IEEE at if you want to join the group.  Another avenue for participation is through an IEEE committee called "International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety that has published several standards addressing exposure limits for EMF and explaining how to establish a safety program or take measurements.  If you would like more information about IEEE ICES, please go to the web site at, or contact Chairman Ralf Bodemann at or Vice Chair Ken Gettman at

Posted 06-20-2011 9:15 PM by Gettman, Kenneth


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