The INTERPHONE Study

Key Facts

Objective: to determine whether mobile phone use increases the risk of tumours and specifically whether RF radiation emitted from mobile phones is carcinogenic.

An International set of case-control studies.

Conducted in 13 countries.

Coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Focussed on 4 tumour types: Glioma, Meningioma, Parotid gland and acoustic nerve (schwannoma).

Results show that there were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels corresponding to use of approximately 30 minutes per day over a 10 year period(1).

About

The Interphone study was an international set of case-control studies focusing on four types of tumours in tissues that easily absorb radiofrequency energy emitted by mobile phones: tumours of the brain (glioma and meningioma), parotid gland and acoustic nerve (schwannoma). The objective was to determine whether mobile phone use increases the risk of these tumours and, specifically, whether radiofrequency energy (RF) emitted by mobile phones is tumourigenic(1).

The study was conducted in 13 countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.

The study included (2):

  • 2,765 Glioma cases
  • 2,425 Meningioma cases
  • 1,121 Acoustic Neuroma cases
  • 109 Malignant Parotid Gland tumour cases
  • 7,658 Controls

Results show that there were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels corresponding to use of approximately 30 minutes per day over a 10 year period(1). No increased risk of Glioma and meningimo was detected at usage levels below this(2).

Higher risk levels were detected for Acoustic Neuroma for higest level of cumulative call times but this could be due to reporting bias or a causal effect. Also, it is suspected that due to Acoustic Neuroma being such a slow growing tumour, the interval of the introduction of mobile phones and the development of this type of tumour may have been too short to observe an effect(2).

References

(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>

(2) World Health Organisation (WHO), International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC), 2011. IARC Report to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on the Interphone Study, [Report] Available at: <http://interphone.iarc.fr/UICC_Report_Final_03102011.pdf>

Related links:

International Agency for Research on Cancer