Written By: Ryan McCaughey, PhD

In 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.[i]

The conclusion of the IARC expert panel of 31 scientists was based partly on the results of the INTERPHONE study – a $24million, 13 country case-control study of the risks related to mobile phone use. The study found those who used a cell phone for more than 10 years were twice as likely to develop glioma.[ii] Further analysis of the INTERPHONE data released in a 2016 paper show a statistically significant association between the distribution of gliomas within the brain and the location of the phone.[iii]  Other studies from France[iv] and Sweden[v] published in 2014 also suggest a link between glioma and heavy cell phone use.

In February 2018, the National Institutes of Health released reports from its 10-year, $25 million toxicological studies assessing the health effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation in rats and mice. They found an increase in the incidence of malignant schwannomas in the hearts of male rats as they were exposed to increasing levels of RF.[vi]

Because chance, bias or other confounding factors cannot not be ruled out with reasonable confidence, the WHO describes the danger from cell phone radiation as credible, but limited. Although there is no conclusive proof, IARC Director Christopher Wild said "it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure”.


[i] https://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol102/mono102.pdf

[ii] https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/39/3/675/631387

[iii] https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/184/11/818/2410935

[iv] http://oem.bmj.com/content/early/2014/05/09/oemed-2013-101754

[v] http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(14)00064-9/abstract

[vi] https://brinkcase.com/blogs/brinkcase/national-institutes-of-health-study-shows-tumor-risk-from-exposure-to-cellphone-radiation