Industry-Funded Cell Phone Study Claims No Cancer Risk

A new study that claims to refute the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent finding that <"">cell phone radiation is a possible carcinogen turns out to have been funded by the wireless industry. The much-touted study, conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, is now being likened to propaganda by at least one cell phone critic, according to an article in the Toronto Sun.

Last month, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing hundreds of human and animal studies. Their review included the 2010 INTERPHONE study, which found that the heaviest cell phone users– experienced a 40 percent higher risk for gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor. The IARC panel did caution that much of the research they reviewed was limited, and said more study was needed before definitive conclusions could be reach.

Last week, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection published its own study, which claimed to debunk the IARC panel’s findings. “Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults,” the researchers write of their review of the available science in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Studies from several countries have shown no indication of increases in brain tumor incidence up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones and 10 years after their use became widespread. Extensive research has also not established any biological mechanism by which radiofrequency fields from mobile phones could cause cancer, and animal experiments have also shown no evidence for cancer causation,” they continued.

The panel insists that despite funding from wireless industry groups like the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum, the researchers were able to maintain their “freedom to design, conduct, interpret, and publish research was not compromised by any controlling sponsor.”

Not everyone is convinced the panel was unbiased, however. Dr. Devra Davis who runs the group Environmental Health Trust, told the Toronto Sun that the industry-funded study is “misleading,” “wrong,” and “propaganda.”

“The fact that we don’t have an epidemic (of brain cancer) right now is of course what we expect,” she said. “It is actually preposterous to imply or they really say that because don’t have any increase now, there’s no problem. It’s really very sad.”

Davis insisted that cell phone radiation constitutes a major public health issue, and said governments should not wait to take action until there are “enough sick people or dead bodies.”

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