Mobiles may be safe
A MAJOR new review of evidence has found no cause for alarm over the possible adverse health effects of mobile phones but warns caution is still needed in relation to children's exposure.
The Health Protection Agency in the UK has updated its previous research on exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields, concluding there is still “no convincing evidence” that exposure below internationally agreed levels was dangerous.
But the report, by the HPA’s independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation, did sound a note of caution due to insufficient available data, for long-term users of mobile phones and over excessive use by children.
“The available data do not suggest a causal association between mobile phone use and fast-growing tumours such as malignant glioma in adults,” the report said.
“For slow-growing tumours such as meningioma and acoustic neuroma, and for long-term users i.e. more than around 15 years, the absence of association reported thus far is less conclusive because the current observation period is still relatively short.
“In addition there is currently only one study available on brain tumour risk in children and adolescents, which has inconclusive results.”
A more conclusive finding was that RF fields, which also include other wireless devices, such as Wi-Fi, television and radio, cannot be detected by people who claim to be sensitive.
However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, recently concluded that available evidence was strong enough to warrant a classification that mobiles are “possibly” carcinogenic to humans, in the same category as coffee drinking and using progestin-only contraceptives.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) guidelines are based on accepted international standards but, due to the continuing uncertainty about the complete safety of exposures to RF electromagnetic radiation, include a requirement to minimise unnecessary or incidental public exposures with a focus on using hands-free devices, especially for children.
“We recommend that parents encourage their children to limit their exposure by reducing call time, by making calls where reception is good, by using hands-free devices or speaker options, or by texting,” an ARPANSA spokesperson said today.