Accessibility links

WHO Experts Say Mobile Phone Use 'Possibly Carcinogenic'

Keeping your ear to the ground might be safer.

Keeping your ear to the ground might be safer.

Cancer experts working for the World Health Organization (WHO) say evidence suggests that using a mobile phone could increase the chance of getting some kinds of brain cancer, and that mobile phone users should consider ways of reducing use of the devices.

The experts recommend that mobile phone use should be listed as a "possibly carcinogenic" activity -- putting the devices in the same category as the pesticide DDT, gasoline-engine exhaust, and coffee.

Classifying agents as "possibly carcinogenic" does not mean they will necessarily lead to cancer. The experts cautioned that more research is needed before any strong conclusions can be determined about how dangerous mobile phone use may or may not be.

The WHO-commissioned experts -- 31 scientists from 14 countries -- did not do any new research of their own but made their judgment after studying the available peer-reviewed studies on mobile phone safety.

The International Association For The Wireless Telecommunications Industry, a business group, said the finding by the WHO's experts "does not mean cell phones cause cancer." The group noted that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Food And Drug Administration have so far found no scientific evidence linking mobile phones to cancer.

About 5 billion mobile phones are estimated to be currently in use worldwide.

compiled from agency reports