and if not, what can we do to reduce the risks?

While mobile phone technology is absorbing a great deal of peoples’ time and money and is undoubtedly distracting, especially while driving, most of us see this technology as useful. However, most of us also are aware of the somewhat vague warnings of risks of brain tumours which implies, for some, deadly health consequences. Given the amount of usage and the number of users this could turn out to be a very nasty problem indeed. Body Counts will finally decide this one way or another.

There is little readily-available information about the levels of radiation emitted by cell phones, nothing to compare different models.  Information on how to avoid electromagnetic radiation is buried in the general section of the phone settings that few users refer to. On occasions service providers do send out messages to subscribers about how to minimise exposure, but many people remain unsure of what the state of knowledge actually is and what they can easily do to reduce their exposure.

Although proponents of mobile phones claim they all ‘meet standards’, several of the currently used standards are based on preventing heating of tissue, not specifically on minimising a risk of cancer. Indeed, the evidence is growing that exposure to mobile phone usage does increase risks of cancers.

What’s the evidence?

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessed all of the (then available) evidence, including some studies that found no risk – and other studies that found radio frequency energies emitted and absorbed during mobile phone usage increased the risk of brain tumour.[1]

The IARC concluded that causality of brain tumour possible and classified radiofrequency radiation (RFR) as possible human carcinogen (Group 2B)[Australia was represented on the IARC panel by Prof Bruce Armstrong who supported this assessment.]

Other recent studies by the National Toxicology Program (USA) and the Ramazzini Institute (Italy) have reported increased cancer rates in experimental animals.[2] The studies called for the re-evaluation of IARC conclusions on the carcinogenic potential of RFR in humans.

On the basis of these assessments, perhaps it would be wise to take precautions. 

What you can do

To apply this information in a practical way:

1   Electromagnetic Radiation levels from cell phones is measured as the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). So check the SAR level on your existing phone.

2   Buy a low SAR phone.

3   Use an ear piece and microphone to keep the phone away from your head.

Interested readers might also refer to the following:


[1]  . IARC Monograph Volume 102 (2013) Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part : Radiofrequency – Electromagnetic Fields.

[2]  Environmental Research Volume 165, August 2018, Pages 496-503

Report of final results regarding brain and heart tumours in Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to mobile phone radiofrequency field representative of a 1.8 GHz GSM base station environmental emission; L.Falcioni et al; and see also

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 10790-10805; doi:10.3390/ijerph111010790

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ISSN 1660-4601

Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones

Michael Carlberg * and Lennart Hardell; Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro SE-701 85, Sweden; E-Mail: (