Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Full IARC radio frequency fields classification report published online

IARC-PhoneThe full report (or monograph) providing the background to the 2011 classification of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones, wireless devices, radio, television and radar as possibly carcinogenic to humans has now been published online.

The classification was first announced in May 2011 and it can take up to two years for the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC’s) full monograph to be published.
“Although this is not new research, the full report provides important details about IARC’s assessment, including how this assessment relates to the overall health assessment of mobile phone technologies and health,” AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said.
“AMTA understands that some mobile phone users may be concerned about the classification; however, it is important to note that IARC concluded that there is the possibility of a hazard and whether or not this represents a risk requires further scientific investigation.”
The IARC Monograph includes a General Remarks section which explains the hazard assessment:
“This Monograph is focused on the potential for an increased risk of cancer among those exposed to RF radiation, but does not provide a quantitative assessment of any cancer risk, nor does it discuss or evaluate any other potential health effects of RF radiation.”
The World Health Organization’s overall risk assessment of all health outcomes for mobile communication technologies has started and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Following the IARC Classification of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) the WHO updated its advice for mobile telecommunications users in the June 2011 fact sheet which concludes:
“A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”
Also, it’s important to recognise with more than 30 million mobile services in operation in Australia, where mobiles have been in widespread use for decades, there had not been an increase in the incidence of brain cancers, Mr Althaus said.
The NSW Cancer Council NSW CEO Dr Andrew Penman said in a 2012 press release:
“Mobile phones have been widely used in Australia for nearly 20 years now. Contrary to concerns about mobile phones, we have seen absolutely no associated increase in brain cancer cases in Australia or overseas.”
“Users should therefore not unduly worry that their device will give them brain cancer.”
The IARC Monograph also commented on this point and says:
“Time trends in cancer of the brain have not shown evidence of a trend that would indicate a promptly acting and powerful carcinogenic effect of mobile-phone use.”
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said the IARC classification “should give no rise to any alarm”. It said the classification corresponded to ARPANSA advice that included practical ways for people to reduce their exposure to electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones if they were concerned to do so.

In their new consumer fact sheet, “How to reduce exposure from mobile phones and other wireless devices”, they advised: “The most effective way to reduce the exposure is to increase the distance between your mobile phone and your head or body,” including, using a hands-free accessory, using the phone on speaker mode or texting rather than talking.

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