The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency fields (including those from cell phones) as a possible cause of cancer in 2011. Find out more about how cancer-causing substances are classified.
Because of the conflicting evidence, more conclusive research is needed to be sure:
- A small number of studies show a link between cell phone use and cancer.
- Most research done so far does not show a link. IARC created a large international research project called INTERPHONE to study whether cell phones increase the risk of certain types of cancer. They collected data from 13 countries, including Canada. The results from the INTERPHONE study found no increased risk of brain cancer (glioma and meningioma) from using a cell phone. Other research groups have also conducted studies that don’t show a link.
Children and cell phones
There isn't very much research on cell phone use and health effects on children, whose bodies are still developing.
Cell phone towers
In 2005, the World Health Organization organized a workshop on base stations and wireless networks to review the health risks associated with radiofrequency energy. They decided that current evidence doesn’t show any short-term or long-term health effects from the signals produced by cell phone towers. However, ongoing research is still looking at the relationship between cancer and radiofrequency exposure from all sources.
We will continue to watch this area of research and update our information as needed.