For Immediate Release
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International Study: High Cell Phone Use May Raise Tumor Risk
EWG Urges Disclosure of Cell Phone Radiation At Point of Sale
WASHINGTON - The
Interphone Study Group, a 10-year, 13-nation scientific collaboration
coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a United
Nations agency, has wrapped up its work without determining
conclusively whether link exists between cell phone use and head and
But some findings suggest that some heavy users might face increased
risk of certain forms of brain cancer.
Ageny officials and lead investigator Dr. Elisabeth Cardis expressed
concern about the undefined but troubling implications of heavy mobile
use, particularly by young people.
Cardis announced that "because of concerns about the rapid increase in
mobile phone use in young people - who were not covered by Interphone,"
she will direct a new project, MobiKids, to be funded by the European
Union, "to investigate the risk of brain tumors from mobile phone use in
childhood and adolescence."
Agency officials said in a press release that the majority of people
investigated in the Interphone study used cell phones an average of just
2 to 2.5 hours per month and 100 hours over their lifetimes. "It is
not unusual for young people to use mobile phones for an hour or more a
day," they said. They suggested that whatever dangers arise from
increasing use may be "tempered...by the lower emissions, on average, from
newer technology phones, and the increasing use of texting and
hands-free operations that keep the phone away from the head." These
questions, they acknowledged, require more intense study.
In the meantime Environmental Working Group believes the Interphone
study's troubling findings should move governments around the world to
adopt right-to-know requirements so customers can see how much radiation
various wireless devices emit at the point of sale. If it is true, as
international researchers suspect, that phones with low emissions are
safer than high-emission phones, then cell phone makers should be
required to inform prospective buyers of their devices' radiation
levels, in clear, straightforward language on the product packaging.
"Our government has stuck to decades-old standards that pre-date the
dramatic increase in cell phone use over the last ten years," said EWG
president and co-founder Ken Cook. "We believe consumers must be
informed about radiation levels at point of purchase. We also hope
consumer publications that review cell phones will note radiation
EWG has been working with the Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and
members of the California State legislature on two separate
right-to-know initiatives. Newsom has introduced a measure before the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors to require that makers disclose each
phone's Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR level, on the box.
California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has introduced
an EWG-sponsored bill, (Senate Bill 1212) that would take the Newsom
The Interphone study found that people who used their wireless devices
at least 30 minutes every day for 10 years were at increased risk of
certain types of brain tumors.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in 2008, 71
percent of American children between 12 and 17 years old, owned cell
phones. More than half use the device daily.
"The tween or teen who doesn't have a cell phone is rare," Cook said.
"As scientists continue to raise disturbing questions about heavy cell
hone use and tumors, at minimum parents should know which phones may be
safer for their children."
The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.