Analysis: Cellphones - still not harmful

A major "study of studies" by the UK government's Health Protection Agency has found "there is still no convincing evidence that mobile phone technologies cause adverse effects on human health."

The study did say that more work was needed on the effect of radio frequency fields on brain activity, and on the possible association with behavioural problems in children and that "excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged."

A summary of the report also cautioned that:

There is little information on risks beyond 15 years from first exposure. It is therefore important to continue to monitor the evidence, including that from national brain tumour trends. These have so far given no indication of any risk.

Telecommunications Users Association head Paul Brislen told NBR it is possible to look back further.

"There is no evidence that cellphone use causes harm because cellphones are just radios you hold up to your head. Radios have been around for 100 years and the capability behind them is well understood. There is no danger from them," Mr Brislen said.

"Over the past 100 years the usage of cellphones has gone from zero to well over 100% of the population but in that time the incidence of brain tumours or brain cancer has not increased at all. The reason researchers can’t find any evidence is because there is no evidence – it’s high time we accepted the findings and simply stopped worrying about it."

Mr Brislen - who survived lymphatic cancer - added: "My advice for those that are concerned about cellphones is to pop it back in the box and send it back to the phone company. That way you’ll be completely safe."

Reality check
The Tuanz boss earlier offered a reality check over a UN World Health Organisation (WHO) report last year that said low-level radio frequency electromagnetic emissions, such as those caused by mobile phones, should be reclassified as a possible human carcinogen on its "Group 3" list.

Mr Brislen noted it was difficult to prove something was non-carcinogenic. WHO's Group 3 list includes 508 items, including coffee, tea, talcum powder and fluorescent lighting.

There is only a single substance that has made WHO's "Group 4" list as "Probably not carcinogenic to humans" - caprolactam (a liquid associated with the manufacture of nylon).

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