Washington, DC, September 4, 2009
On August 25, 2009 the International EMF [Electro Magnetic Field] Collaborative released Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern. This report underscores the risk of tumors from cellphone use, especially for children. Endorsed by a wide range of scientists from around the world, the report makes three findings based on a review of existing scientific data: 1) There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use; 2) Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors; and, 3) Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors.
The Collaborative’s report, by well-known health advocacy groups, and with over forty additional scientific endorsers, specifically underscores the shortcomings of a $25 million, multi-country study conducted for the cellphone industry, the so called “Interphone” study. The industry effort was begun over ten years ago in response to significant evidence that cellphones posed a risk of brain tumors. Interphone researchers finished collecting data for the study in 2004, but amid reports of conflicts among researchers within the study group (some saw serious risk, some saw no risk and some counseled silence), final results remain hidden from the public.
Partial Interphone results released thus far by some of the participating countries raise doubts about the validity of any of the Interphone study’s conclusions, and raise the spectre that some design flaws may have been intended to underestimate risk.
The Collaborative’s report cites a recent Swedish study which reported a 420% increase in tumor risk for teenage cellphone users. France has banned cell phones in primary schools and is calling on manufacturers to produce texting-only cellphones for children, thereby reducing radiation to the head. University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Director Emeritus, Ronald B. Herberman, MD, citing substantial evidence that long term exposure to radiofrequency radiation may lead to increased risk for brain tumors, issued a precautionary advisory to the Institute’s faculty and staff last year. Lloyd Morgan, lead author of the Collaborative’s new report, told Computerworld magazine, “I fear we will see a tsunami of brain tumors, although it is too early to see that now, since the tumors have a 30-year latency.” He added, ” I pray I’m wrong, but brace yourself.”
The Collaborative’s report, subtitled “Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone” cited Interphone study design flaws that included categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones) as “unexposed;” excluding many types of brain tumors; excluding people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumors; and excluding children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.
John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the CTIA, which represents cellphone makers in the U.S., said in a statement in response to the Collaborative’s report that “peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk.” He claimed that the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have all concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk.
In fact, however, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is on record as saying, “The available science does not allow us to conclude that mobile phones are absolutely safe, or that they are unsafe. However, the available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any adverse health effects associated with the use of mobile phones.”
The FDA and FCC jointly state that “The available scientific evidence does not show that any health problems are associated with using wireless phones. There is no proof, however, that wireless phones are absolutely safe.”