It has not been proven that regular and extended usage of mobile telephones can lead to tumours forming in the head. On 1 June 2016 the Health Council of The Netherlands made a new announcement concerning the relationship between mobile telephone emissions and the development of brain tumours. According to the council there is no proven connection between long-term and extensive use of mobile phones and an increased risk of tumours in the brain or the head/neck area. But neither can they completely rule this out. The council therefore advises keeping exposure to as low as reasonably possible and that the effects be further investigated.
To come to this conclusion the Health Council (the organ that advises the government on diverse subjects linked to public health) analysed the data from both epidemiological and animal-testing experiments. A few weak indications were revealed by the epidemiological tests that linked long-term and intensive use of a mobile phone to an increase in the number of Gliomas (brain tumours) and Vestibular Schwannoma (tumours on the auditory nerves). The results of the animal experiments indicate that there is a possibility that exposure to EMR stimulates the development of tumours.
According to the Council it is only possible, on the basis of the credibility of the available evidence, to conclude that any connection between mobile telephone usage and brain tumours cannot be completely excluded. Therefore the Council recommends the exposure to EMR be kept ‘As Low As Reasonably Achievable’. It is, for example, not necessary that high-powered transmitters be used for longer than needed to ensure a good connection.
World Health Organisation
The Health Council is closely following developments in the area of electromagnetic radiation and public health. This is the third time that the Netherlands Health Council has issued a verdict about the relationship between mobile phone emissions and cancer, since the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2011 classified mobile telephones as ‘possibly cancer-inducing’. (category 2B).
This advice from the Health Council is the latest in a series of three.. The first dates from June 2013, where the Health Council concluded that research had provided no definite and consistent evidence for an increased chance of tumours in the brain or other parts of the head in conjunction with mobile telephone usage. However they could not completely exclude the possibility of a small risk factor. The second advice dates from September 2014, then the Health Council’s opinion was that it was highly unlikely that long-term continual or repeated exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation could cause or promote the development of cancers. The Council also wanted to wait for the results of a large-scale, extensive investigation being carried out in the United States.
The first results of that investigation, carried out by the American National Toxicology Program (NTP), came out in May 2016. The study found a link between mobile telephone emissions and cancer in rats. This news caused a sensation in the American media: News-station NBC called it a ‘game-changer’ in the debate about the damaging effects of mobile phones. This study has not been included in the current advice of the Health Council, as it will not be completed until 2017.
Health Council press statement
The complete document can be found here: https://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/nl/taak-werkwijze/werkterrein/gezonde-leefomgeving/mobile-phones-and-cancer-part-3-update-and-overall (PDF-download)
Advice Health Council September 2014: https://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/nl/taak-werkwijze/werkterrein/gezonde-leefomgeving/mobile-phones-and-cancer-part-2-animal-studies-on
Advice Health Council June 2013: https://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/sites/default/files/201311_Mobile_Phones_Cancer_Part1.pdf