The back-and-forth brawl between studies suggesting that mobile phones do and don't cause cancer just took a bold step toward the former camp today, with the World Health Organisation classifying mobile phones as potential links to brain cancer.
The study, conducted by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, stops far short of saying phones cause cancer. Rather, the agency's grouped regular mobile phone usage (defined as 30 minutes of talk time per day) as a "possible" cause of glioma, a malignant form of brain cancer. As one researcher puts it, "There could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between [mobile]phones and cancer risk." This might sound insignificant - the study says chance, as opposed to causation, can't be ruled out - but it's unprecedented. The WHO is a global authority on medicine, and its findings mark the most comprehensive statement on cellular radiation danger. By classifying mobile phone usage as a possible carcinogen, your iPhone or Android's now on the same list as DDT, burning coal, herpes and working in a print factory (among hundreds of other carcinogens).
So it's not a definitive danger. But mobile phone use is officially a risk. Luckily, we're decreasingly using them to actually talk into - smartphones might be helping us dodge brain cancer. [via Telegraph]