After years of review, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the radio frequencies utilized by cell phones as possibly carcinogenic to human thereby opening the door to potential wave of workers' compensation occupational disease claims for cancer of the brain. The increase risk has been identified for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer .
The research has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless phones. The number of mobile phones in use is estimated at 5 billion annually. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, 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).
The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has been meeting from May 24 through May 31 in Lyon, France to access the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields.
The IARC Monograph Working Group discussed and evaluated the available literature on the following exposure categories involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields:
occupational exposures to radar and to microwaves;
environmental exposures associated with transmission of signals for radio, television and wireless telecommunication; and
personal exposures associated with the use of wireless telephones.
A report summarizing the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group and the evaluations of the carcinogenic hazard from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (including the use of mobile telephones) will be published in The Lancet Oncology in its July 1st issue.
Cells phones have emerged as a significant issue in workers' compensation claims since their use has been a major cause of distracted driving resulting in many serious and fatal accidents on the job. The WHO/IARC report has the potential of causing a major new wave of workers' compensation claims for cancer.
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