Will Cancer Warning Hang Up Cellphone Use?

Yet another body is warning of links between cellphone use and deadly brain cancer.

The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) today announced it would classify radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use. Glioma made up 2/3ds of the new cases of brain cancer identified worldwide in 2008, the WHO/IARC said.

With some 5 billion cellphone subscriptions in use worldwide however, the question is, will the decision change anyone’s behavior?

On one hand, it could lead to an increase in use of hands-free devices that keep the RF antenna away from the user, as recommended by IARC. That would mean a corresponding increase in business for electronics manufacturers.

On the other hand, most users are likely to consider this warning with the same mock seriousness they give to sunscreen. It is highly unlikely that the emerging markets, few of which have built out landline infrastructure, will reverse course and spend the billions (or more) needed to offer an alternative to cellphones.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

2 thoughts on “Will Cancer Warning Hang Up Cellphone Use?

  1. Well it looks like I’d better get a longer headphone/mic extension for that new iPhone I want so bad. Long time no talk to Mike.

    Claude Jodoin, former columnist for Printed Circuit Design (14 years)…Designer’s Viewpoint

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