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INTERPHONE - What the Health Experts Say

The INTERPHONE study group published the results for the combined analysis for glioma and meningioma – the most common types of brain tumour – in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

This prompted a number of government authorities and independent expert bodies to release statements about the research paper results and their possible implications for human health.

> World Health Organization (WHO)
> International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
> International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
> Cancer Council Australia
> Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)
> UK National Health Service (NHS)
> Australian Centre for Radio Frequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR)
> US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
> Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK)
> UK INTERPHONE Authors - Universtiy of Leeds
> Karolinska Institute
> US National Cancer Institute
> UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) Interphone Statement
> UK HPA - Independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR)
> Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità)

World Health Organisation (WHO)

“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 for mobile phone use.”

“While an increased risk of brain tumors is not established from INTERPHONE data, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk. In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group. Several studies investigating potential health effects in children and adolescents are underway.”

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

"An increased risk of brain cancer is not established from the data from INTERPHONE. However, observations at the highest level of cumulative call time and the changing patterns of mobile phone use since the period studied by INTERPHONE, particularly in young people, mean that further investigation of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk is merited."

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International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) 18 May 2010

“ICNIRP recently published a review of the scientific evidence on the health effects of radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones.  We found the existing evidence did not support an increased risk of brain tumours in mobile phone users within the duration of use yet investigated.  The subsequent publication of the Interphone study has added greatly to the volume of evidence available.  ICNIRP believes on preliminary review of results, however, that they do not change the overall conclusions.

ICNIRP therefore considers that the results of the Interphone study give no reason for alteration of the current guidelines.”

Mobile Phones, Brain Tumours and the Interphone Study: Where Are We Now? - ICNIRP Paper July 2011 

"Conclusions: Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults."

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Cancer Council Australia May 2010

"The world’s largest study to date on mobile phone use and cancer risk, Interphone, has been announced and media have be attempting, with some difficulty, to interpret the significance of the findings. Overall results of the study, conducted over 12 years in 13 countries, show no link between mobile phones and brain cancer (over the 12 year period).”

“However, it has been suggested that electromagnetic fields associated with mobile phones may play a role in speeding up the development of an existing cancer. The Interphone study found no evidence to support this theory,” Chief Executive Officer, Professor Ian Olver, said.

“Anyone concerned about the harmful effects of electromagnetic energy should reduce their use of mobile phones, or employ hands-free technology.” 

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Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) 17 May 2010

"On the basis of current understanding of the relationship between brain cancer and use of mobile phones, including the recently published data from the INTERPHONE study, ARPANSA:

  • concludes that currently available data do not warrant any general recommendation to limit use of mobile phones in the adult population,
     
  • continues to inform those concerned about potential health effects that they may limit their exposure by reducing call time, by making calls where reception is good, by using hands-free devices or speaker options, or by texting; and
     
  • recommends that, due to the lack of any data relating to children and long term use of mobile phones, parents encourage their children to limit their exposure by reducing call time, by making calls where reception is good, by using hands-free devices or speaker options, or by texting."

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UK National Health Service (NHS)

“This study has not found conclusive evidence to support a link between mobile phone use and brain tumours. According to the researchers, it is the biggest case-control study on the subject to date, making the findings particularly important.

While there is a need for further research into longer-term mobile phone use, this study certainly does not support the clear-cut claims of some newspapers that “talking for 30 minutes a day” increases the risk of brain tumours.”

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Australian Centre for Radio Frequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR) 17 May 2010

“Until now there have been concerns that mobile phones were causing increases in brain tumours.  Interphone is both large and rigorous enough to address this claim, and it has not provided any convincing scientific evidence of an association between mobile phone use and the development of glioma or meningioma.“

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US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) May 2010

"The recent Interphone findings, which are being posted online in the June 2010 International Journal of Epidemiology, did not show an increased risk of brain cancer from using cell phones."

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Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK) 18 May 2010

"The results suggest that a normal cell phone usage does not appear to increase the risk of brain tumors. Similarly, more than a decade of mobile phone use was not associated with increased risk.

Although some of the data suggested an increased risk for people with the heaviest use of cell phones, the study's authors determined that biases and errors limit the strength of conclusions that can be drawn from it."

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UK Interphone Authors Media Release - University of Leeds 17 May 2010

"An international study, led in the UK by researchers at the University of Leeds and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), has shown no link between mobile phone use and brain tumours.”

“Overall this research has not shown evidence of an increased risk of developing a glioma or meningioma brain tumour as a result of using a mobile phone. This is consistent with published biological studies, which have not established any effect of exposure to radiation from mobile phones at a cellular level nor found a mechanism by which cancer could be caused,” Professor Patricia McKinney, epidemiologist at the University of Leeds and leader of the UK North part of Interphone, said

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Karolinska Institute – Media Release from the Swedish and Nordic authors of the INTERPHONE study 17 May 2010

“Overall, the results show no increased risk of brain tumors in people who used a mobile phone regularly for at least ten years.”
“Had there been a greater risk for more than 10 years of mobile phone use, we should have seen it in Interphone."

" The results are consistent with available experimental research which has failed to demonstrate any carcinogenic effect of the type of radiation cell phones emit. They also corresponds with previous epidemiological research,” says Maria Feychting, professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute, and head of the Swedish part of the Interphone.

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US National Cancer Institute 17 May 2010

Interphone, an international collaboration, and the largest study of its kind to date, reported that overall, cell phone users have no increased risk of two of the most common forms of brain cancer glioma and meningioma. Furthermore, there was no evidence of risk with progressively increasing number of calls, longer call time, or time since the start of the use of cell phones.”

“While it is clear that research in this area will continue, this large-scale, long-term study contributes greatly to the body of scientific evidence about cell phones and brain cancer. Interphone also illustrates how difficult it is to identify and corroborate, or definitively rule out, any possible association between the two,” said National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director John E.Niederhuber, M.D.

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UK health Protection Agency - Interphone Statement 18 May 2010

"The study, a pooled analysis of studies from 13 different countries, is a major contribution to the understanding of the health impact of mobile phones. It concludes that 'biases and errors' within the study have restricted conclusions that can be drawn and means the researchers were unable to make any clear link between mobile phone use and brain tumours"

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UK Health Protection Agency - Independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) 25 May 2010

"... the study provides no clear, or even strongly suggestive, evidence of a hazard.   Moreover, it indicates that if there is any hazard of brain cancer or meningioma from use of mobile phones then the risk during the initial 10-15 years of use must be small."

"This conclusion is consistent with the findings of most other epidemiological studies that have examined the relation of brain tumours to use of mobile phones, and also with the absence of demonstrable effects on cancer incidence when laboratory animals have been exposed to radiofrequency radiation experimentally"

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Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) 17 May 2010 

“An increase of risk associated with mobile phone use was not observed, nor for glioma and neither for meningioma, not even among the long term user (more than 10 years). Moreover, no trend of increased risk have been observed in relation with the increase of the cumulative number of calls, and not even with the increase of the cumulative duration of the calls. Overall, the study do not report any increase of risk for brain tumors associated with mobile phone use.”

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