WHO lists cell phones as possibly carcinogenic with coffee, car exhaust, working nights

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has placed cellphones on a list of possibly carcinogenic items, also including coffee, car exhaust and night shift work.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – part of the World Health Organization – announced on May 31, 2011 from Lyon, France that it has placed cellphones on its category 2B list of things possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The international panel of experts made the decision after reviewing details from dozens of published studies.

Global panel adds cellphones to list of ‘possible’ carcinogens like coffee, exhaust fumes from the Washington Post.

Radiation from Cell Phones Flagged as ‘Possibly’ – Not Probably – Carcinogenic from Scientific American.

The statement was issued in Lyon, France, on May 31, 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a weeklong meeting of experts. They reviewed possible links between cancer and the type of electromagnetic radiation found in cellphones, microwaves, and radar. Other items on the category 2B list include the pesticide DDT, gasoline engine exhaust, and coffee.

An agent classified as “possibly carcinogenic” doesn’t mean it automatically causes cancer, and some experts said the ruling shouldn’t change people’s cellphone habits.

The agency is the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, and the assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.

Image Credit: Ed Yourdon

Bottom line: The International Agency for Research on Cancer announced on May 31, 2011 from Lyon, France that it has placed cellphones on its category 2B list of things possibly carcinogenic to humans. Coffee, gasoline engine exhaust, and night shift work are also on the list, as is the pesticide DDT.

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