Monday, Jul 11, 2011
The World Health Organization in early June classified cellphones as carcinogenic (cancer causing) for humans, but Harbin Clinic Medical Oncologist Dr. Melissa Dillmon, says most people do not need to change their normal cellphone usage.
“It is impossible to live free from carcinogens,” Dr. Dillmon said. “We should use common sense and within reason, minimize our exposure to all carcinogens including engine exhaust, second hand smoke, cellphones and chemicals.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a committee of the World Health Organization, reviewed several hundred studies that evaluated the carcinogenic impact of cellphone use. From the review, IARC determined that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from cellphones is greater than exposure from base stations and telephone towers. The panel concluded that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are carcinogenic and cellphone use could contribute to cancer. This announcement received a great deal of publicity around the world causing people to be concerned about using their cellphones.
According to Dr. Dillmon, the World Health Organization placed cellphone usage in one of its lowest categories (2-B) for carcinogens, along with pickled vegetables and coffee. The IARC rarely designates an agent as not carcinogenic and “the evidence that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are carcinogenic is weak,” Dr. Dillmon said.
In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration in a statement said it would review the [WHO] findings, but “existing weight of scientific evidence does not show an association between exposure to non-thermal radio frequency energy and adverse health outcomes.”
Dr. Dillmon pointed out that the IARC committee’s carcinogenic designation of cellphones is based on pre-2005 studies that attempted to identify correlation between cellphone usage and malignant gliomas, a rare type of brain tumor. A more recent 13- country study released in 2010 did not identify an increased cancer risk in cellphone users.
Dr. Dillmon said that one of the best defenses against cancer is a healthy life style. “Exercise and a healthy diet contribute to our general health,” Dr. Dillmon said. “Within reason, we should minimize our exposure to carcinogenic agents and focus on living healthy lives.”