By Chris Kiwawulo
USING mobile phones increases the risk of human beings developing brain cancer, experts have warned.
A study done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, which are present in mobile phones, as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
A carcinogen is any substance, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.
The findings show that the number of mobile phone users is large and growing, particularly among young adults and children, IARC observed in a statement dated May 31.
According to IARC, the number of mobile phone subscriptions is currently estimated at five billion users globally.
The agency says radiofrequency electromagnetic fields increase the risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.
Besides mobile phones, other digital wireless systems such as data communication networks produce similar radiation.
A glioma is a type of tumour that starts in the brain or spine. It is called a glioma because it arises from glial cells.
The IARC says; â€œOver the last few years, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless communication devices.â€
The agency revealed that between May 24â€“31, 2011, a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries at the IARC headquarters in Lyon, France, assessed the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.
The IARC monograph working group discussed the possibility that these exposures might induce long-term health effects, in particular an increased risk for cancer.
A monograph is the work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author, and it forms a component of literature review in science and engineering.
The IARC working group discussed and evaluated the available literature on the following exposure categories involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: Occupational exposures to radar and microwaves.
Others are environmental exposures associated with transmission of signals for radio, television and wireless telecommunication and personal exposures associated with the use of wireless telephones.
According to a Globocan study, there were 237,913 new cases of brain cancers (all types combined) that occurred around the world in 2008, of which two thirds (about 158,609) were gliomas.