Do cell phones cause cancer? The preliminary results of a massive, government-funded study suggest they could. This makes cell phone safety an incredibly important topic. The early findings in the $25 million U.S. National Toxicology Program animal study show exposure to very high signal cell phone radiation led to a slightly increased risk of malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart in male rats. Schwannomas are tumors that form in the nerve sheath. (1)
When the Interphone conclusions were released in 2010, industry spokespeople blunted their impact by deploying what experts on lying call “creative truth-telling.” “Interphone’s conclusion of no overall increased risk of brain cancer is consistent with conclusions reached in an already large body of scientific research on this subject,” John Walls, the vice president for public affairs at the CTIA, told reporters. The wiggle word here is “overall”: Since some of the Interphone studies did not find increased brain-cancer rates, stipulating “overall” allowed Walls to ignore those that did. The misleading spin confused enough news organizations that their coverage of the Interphone study was essentially reassuring to the industry’s customers. The Wall Street Journal announced “Cell Phone Study Sends Fuzzy Signal on Cancer Risk,” while the BBC’s headline declared: “No Proof of Mobile Cancer Risk.”37
Cancer is the obvious start. An early concern with mobile technology was clusters of the disease around those living near phone masts. One study in Israel found a 4.5-fold increase in cancers of all kinds in the immediate vicinity of a mast (Int. J. Cancer Prev., 2004). In 2009, a Korean team of researchers carried out a pool analysis of the results of 23 studies, which involved almost 38,000 subjects.