Group 2b Cancer Classification

On the 31st May 2011, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2b).

This classification is based on an increased risk of a malignant type of brain cancer associated with mobile phone use(1). Dr Jonathan Samet, overall Chairman of the working group, stated that “the evidence, whilst still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close eye on the link between cell phones and cancer risk”. The Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) stated that “given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure”(1).


(1)  World Health Organisation (WHO), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2011. IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans, No. 208. [press release] 31 May 2011. Available at <http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf>