Tuesday the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced cellphones are “possible carcinogens.” Carcinogens are substances that are capable of causing cancer.
The IARC, a branch of the World Health Organization, met in Lyon, France this past week to analyze existing data on cellphone safety. No new research was conducted, and two of the studies were previously unpublished.
In its statement, the IARC says there is a possible connection between cellphones and gliomas and acoustic neuromas, two types of brain tumors.
The group has also listed Styrofoam cups, gasoline exhaust, coffee, and common medications as possible carcinogens, says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.
Brawley and other cancer experts are skeptical of the group’s findings, and point out that cancer rates have not increased with the growth of mobile technology. If anything, rates are slightly decreasing.
However, Michael Weaver, a professor of neurosurgery at Temple University Hospital, recommends using landlines when possible or wired headsets that keep the phone at a distance. He also recommends texting instead of calling.
The IARC’s findings will be published in the Lancet Oncology’s July 1 issue.