Less than 20 percent of mobile users would adjust their cell phone habits based on the recent cell phone cancer scare, according to a survey by research firm TNS.
Although 80 percent of mobile users are aware of a recent World
Health Organization report that cell phones could possibly cause brain
cancer, less than 20 percent plan to do anything about it,
The firm conducted a poll of consumers to gauge their reaction to
the May 31 warning by WHO's International Agency for Research on
Cancer, which claimed that cell phone use could be "possibly
From May 24-31, scientists gathered in Lyon, France, to discuss exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, which mobile
phones emit. The IARC published its full report on its Monographs
In reaction to the WHO report, 8 percent of respondents to the TNS
poll planned to reduce their cell phone usage and another 8 percent
said they'll purchase a hands-free accessory such as a Bluetooth
"The high degree of awareness about the recent news and relatively
low rates of change in behavior really demonstrate the ubiquity of
mobile usage and its importance in daily life," Charles White, senior
vice president at TNS, said in a statement. "Given
the direct correlation between radiation emitted by cell phones and
rates remains unclear, I think the risks would need to be much more
to see significant impact on usage."
In addition, of those respondents who own hands-free devices, 17
percent planned to use them more often, according to the TNS poll
results announced on June 16.
Mobile use will, of course, grow despite the WHO
. CTIA-The Wireless Association and wireless industry analysts spoke
out against the WHO's warning, saying more research is required before sounding
the alarms against cell phone use.
Gregg Malkary, founder and managing director of Spyglass Consulting
Group, told eWEEK that the WHO was doing the public a disservice by
issuing a warning without backing it up with substantial research.
"In some ways I think it was premature for the WHO to issue this warning without a lot more substance," he said. "All they
did was create fear, uncertainty and doubt."
Meanwhile, the brain tumors that cell phone users have developed are not caused by the mobile use, according to a study
by the University of Tampere in Finland
Cell phones emit 90 percent of its radiation within 5 centimeters of
the device, and tumors were not likely to be located this close to the
device, the Finnish report concluded.
For the study, published on May 24 in the American
Journal of Epidemiology
, Dr. Suvi Larjavaara and colleagues at the University of Tampere
in Finland mapped a type of brain tumors called gliomas in 888 patients in seven European
countries from 2000-2004.
"These results do not suggest that gliomas in mobile phone users are preferentially located in the parts of the brain with the
highest radio-frequency fields from mobile phones," the authors concluded.
Still, the Finnish study is inconclusive, Larjavaara told Reuters
Health, since a period of at least 10 years of cell phone use would
yield more complete results. Of mobile phone users surveyed, only 5
used the devices for at least 10 years.