A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Interphone: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

June 24, 2011

The WHO EMF project in Geneva has updated its fact sheet on mobile phones (#193) in light of the IARC decision. WHO continues to maintain, as it did last year following the release of the...

June 22, 2011

A short summary of the IARC Working Group's decision to classify radiofrequency (RF) radiation as a "possible human carcinogen" (2B) was posted this morning on the Web pages of Lancet Oncology.

IARC has not paid for the two-page summary to be open access. [IARC later changed its mind and it is now a free download.]

June 9, 2011

The Interphone RF–brain tumor location paper from Elisabeth Cardis's group was posted today on the Web site of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (OEM). This is the paper that was given to the IARC RF group just in time for the meeting.

Here's the key conclusion: "Our results suggest that...

June 3, 2011

It's not easy to reach unanimous agreement on anything to do with cell phone radiation. And when it comes to cell phones and cancer, forget about it. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) nearly pulled it off. On Tuesday, May 31, more than two dozen scientists and doctors from 14 countries —a group IARC Director Christopher Wild called “the world’s leading experts”— issued a joint statement that cell phone and other types of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave radiation might cause cancer.

May 31, 2011

A day-by-day blog of the IARC RF–Cancer Review, May 23-30.

May 27, 2011

Alasdair Philips, a founder of Powerwatch, the U.K. activist group, is calling for "urgent action" to protect children from an epidemic of brain and other tumors in 10-30 years. He says that it's now "morally irresponsible" to allow youngsters to use mobile phones. Philips's call to arms follows word that two...

January 25, 2011

"[I]ndications of an increased risk in high- and long-term users [of cell phones] from Interphone and other studies are of concern." This is the conclusion of a commentary, published yesterday in Occupational Environmental Medicine by Elisabeth Cardis and Siegal Sadetzki. Cardis is the head of the ...

December 21, 2010

It's only a short letter buried in the back pages of a journal, but it could change the entire cell phone–cancer controversy.

A group at Hebrew University in Jerusalem has reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors in Israel over the last 30 years. Rakefet Czerninski, Avi Zini and Harold Sgan-Cohen found that these tumors have quadrupled since 1970, "with the steepest increase" after 2001 (see plot below). Their letter appears in the January 2011 issue of Epidemiology; it's a free download. They are with the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine at the university.

December 17, 2010

One of the glaring omissions of the Interphone cell phone–brain tumor paper is any serious discussion of a similar study by Lennart Hardell's group in Sweden and how they compare (see "Interphone Points to Long-Term Brain Tumor Risks"). Hardell, Michael Carlberg and Kjell Hansson Mild have now filled in the blanks. In a ...

December 1, 2010

The acoustic neuroma story is becoming quite compelling.

Researchers in Tokyo have reported that they too found more of these tumors of the acoustic nerve among long-term cell phone users —the third group to see this link. Those who used cell phones for more than 20 minutes a day for at least five years had three times more acoustic neuromas than expected. The Japanese team also saw a strong suggestion of a dose-response relationship: The longer people used cell phones —both in terms of minutes of daily calls and years of use— the greater their risk.

June 9, 2010

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recruited Joachim Schüz to lead its Section on Environment. Among his duties in Lyon, Schüz will supervise the still-unfinished work of theInterphone project. He will also play an advisory role in next year's IARC review of the possible cancer risks associated with RF radiation. Schüz, who begins at the agency on August 2, will report to Christopher Wild, the director of IARC.

May 17, 2010

An essential part of the Interphone story is Appendix 2. Although not included in the paper, it offers a way to look at the risks free of some of the bias that so muddled the published results. It also provides a window on the controversy that deadlocked the Interphone group for four years.

There is a general consensus that the large number of abnormally low risks observed in Interphone is a sign of a systematic problem —selection bias— in the way that the study was carried out. As the Interphone group acknowledges, it is "unlikely" that cell phones could immediately provide protection against brain tumors (see main Interphone Story).

May 17, 2010

The Paper — E. Cardis et al. (The Interphone Study Group), "Brain Tumour Risk in Relation to Mobile Telephone Use: Results of the Interphone International Case-Control Study," International Journal of Epidemiology, 2010 (open access)
Supplementary DataAppendix 1 and Appendix 2 (open access)
Commentary— R. Sarraci & J. Samet, "Call Me on My Mobile Phone … Or Better Not? — A Look at the Interphone Study Results," International Journal of Epidemiology, 2010 (open access)
Press Releases:
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — "Interphone Study Reports on Mobile Phone Use and Brain Cancer Risk"  May 17
International Union Against Cancer (UICC) — "Interphone Study Reports on Mobile Phone Use and Brain Cancer Risk" undated
Audio of Press Conference, held at WHO Headquarters, Geneva,  May 17

May 17, 2010

There's an old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Welcome to Interphone.

The good news is that the Interphone paper has finally been made public after a four-year stalemate within the 13-country research team. But it comes at a price. A series of compromises over how to interpret the results of the largest and most expensive study of cell phones and brain tumors ever attempted has left the paper with no clear conclusions other than more research is needed.

May 7, 2010

The first results of the Interphone project will be released on May 18, Microwave News has learned. The paper will be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. "It is scheduled to be in the June issue," said an assistant in the journal's editorial office in Bristol, England. An electronic copy of the paper will be posted on the "advance access" page of the journal's Web site on the 18th.

December 18, 2009

Pity those who are trying to follow the cell phone–brain tumor story. Their sense of the cancer risk is most likely a reflection of the last thing they read or saw on TV —It all depends on whose sound bite they happen to catch.

Take, for example, a paper published earlier this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) by a team of Scandinavian epidemiologists, under a rather bland title — "Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, 1974–2003." But its message is anything but: Because there has been no increase in brain tumors between 1998 and 2003, a period when the use of cell phones "increased sharply," cell phones are cancer safe.

October 28, 2009

Saturday's lead story in the Telegraph made believe that the U.K. daily had gotten hold of the much-delayed and much sought-after final results of the Interphone study — and that they showed that using a cell phone does indeed increase the risk of developing a brain tumor. Under the headline "Mobiles: New Cancer Alert," the newspaper proclaimed that, "Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to some cancers, a landmark international study will conclude later this year." In its inside pages were a number of related stories, notably "People Must Be Told About Mobile Phone Dangers, Say Experts" and a sidebar about Larry Mills who had developed a tumor "exactly where he held the phone." The story was pitched as an "EXCLUSIVE" and was soon picked up by many other newspapers and Web sites.

October 14, 2009

A new analysis of already-published studies points to a tumor risk following long-term use of cell phones. This meta-analysis by a joint Korean-U.S. team of 13 past studies was published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Its conclusions support two previous similar efforts: All three indicate a 20-25% increase in tumors after ten or more years of cell phone use.

May 28, 2009

Christopher Wild, the director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), announced today that the Interphone study has been submitted for publication. An advisory, "Status of the Interphone Study" has been posted on the IARC,  CREAL and UICC Web sites. Wild does not say to which journal the paper was sent.

As we reported May 11, the  submitted manuscript only addresses brain tumor (gliomas and meningiomas) risks from mobile phones. Still to be completed are the analyses for acoustic neuroma and parotid gland tumors, as well as for tumor location relative to RF radiation exposure. Wild states that, "Work is on-going to prepare subsequent manuscripts for publication."

May 11, 2009

The stalemate over Interphone is coming to an end. A project of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the possible links between mobile phones and tumors, Interphone has been bogged down for over three years while its members feuded over how to interpret their results. Now, Microwave News has learned, a paper on brain tumor risks is about to be submitted for publication. Christopher Wild, the director of IARC, forced a compromise to resolve what had become a major embarrassment for the agency.

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