April 27, 2012
Still No Evidence Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors
A safety review for the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that there is no evidence that mobile phones are harmful to human health.
During the review, scientists looked at hundreds of studies of mobile exposure and did not find any conclusive links to cancer risk, brain function or infertility.
However, HPA did say that monitoring should continue because little was known about long-term effects mobile phones can cause. The agency also recommended that children should avoid excessive use of mobile devices.
The study said that there is an estimated 80 million mobile phones in the U.K., and because of television and radio broadcasting, Wi-Fi, and other technologies, exposure to low-level radio frequency fields was near universal.
Experts working with the agency looked at all significant research into the effects of low-level radio frequency.
The review found that people who were not exposed above U.K. guideline levels did not experience any detectable symptoms, including those who were reported being sensitive to radio frequency.
HPA also said there was no evidence that exposure to radio frequency can cause brain tumors, other types of cancer, or harm to fertility or cardiovascular health.
They warned that little was known about risks beyond 15 years, because most people did not use mobile phones until the late 1990s.
"Even though it's relatively reassuring, I also think it's important that we keep an eye on the rates of brain tumors and other cancers," Professor Anthony Swerdlow, who chaired the review group, told BBC News.
He said no one can know the long-term effects of using a mobile device, because it is something that has only been around for a "short period."
This is not the first review by HPA, the agency conducted a previous review in 2003, which concluded that there was no evidence of harm.
The experts said more work was needed to determine whether radio frequency fields had any effect on brain activity, or on behavioral problems in children.
HPA said it is not changing its advice about mobile phone use by children, and still wishes to continue to advise a precautionary approach, according to Dr. John Cooper, director of the HPA's center for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards.
"The HPA recommends that excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged," Cooper said in a statement.