Last Updated May 31, 2011 8:29 PM EDT
The WHO panel also concluded that cell phone use may increase the risk of acoustic neuromas, a benign brain tumor. The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group panel consisted of 31 leading international experts who had convened in Lyon, France to review hundreds of studies.
The panel did not quantify the risk but one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10"year period).
Dr. Jonathan Samet of the University of Southern California, and chairman of the Working Group, said in a press release, "The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."
IARC director Christopher Wild said that although more research is needed on long term heavy use of cell phones, "Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands"free devices or texting."
Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, said, "This is the first official acknowledgment that we may have a problem on our hands --and it could turn out to be a very big problem. We simply don't know yet."
"The public has been given a lot of contradictory and misleading information," said Slesin. "The IARC announcement should tell people to follow a precautionary approach. The first step should be limiting the use of cell phones by children."
A report summarizing the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group will be published in The Lancet Oncology in its July 1 issue, and in a few days online.
For now you can follow the steps Slesin spelled out in my previous blog post, Cell Phone Radiation: 9 Ways To Be Safer.
Are you going to change the way you use cell phones now?