GSMA Statement on the IARC Classification

GSMA Statement on the IARC Classification

May 31, 2011

Press Release

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced on 31 May 2011 that a working group meeting from 23-31 May in Lyon (France) has completed a cancer hazard assessment for radiofrequency signals, including those from broadcast services, mobile communications, microwaves and radar.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Jack Rowley, GSMA Director for Research and Sustainability said:

‘The IARC classification suggests that a hazard is possible but not likely. Put simply, this comprehensive scientific review identified some suggestive evidence in the human studies but no consistent support from animal and cell studies.’

‘We recognise that some mobile phone users may be concerned. Importantly, present safety standards remain valid and the result should be understood as indicating the need for further research. Future studies will follow the health of mobile phone users over a long period of time. These are already underway in Europe, with the support of GSMA members, and will involve up to 250,000 subjects,’ he added.

The GSMA has demonstrated on-going commitment to the support of high-quality independent scientific research on the safety of mobile communications. It believes that consumers and the public should have access to factual information.

Over the past decade, more than 30 authoritative, independent expert scientific reviews undertaken around the world, including by the World Health Organisation, have concluded that present safety standards for mobile phones and base stations provide protection for all persons against all established health hazards.

The IARC classification is a scientific, qualitative judgement and will need to be examined by national public health agencies and the World Health Organization before any policy recommendations can be made. A summary of the rationale for the classification will be published in Lancet Oncology in the near future and the full review report, called a Monograph, is expected in 2012.

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About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning 219 countries and territories, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Congress. For more information, please visit Mobile World Live, the online portal for the mobile communications industry, at or the GSMA corporate website at

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For further information please contact:

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IARC Classification Definitions

World Health Organization EMF Project

Expert Scientific Reviews

COSMOS is a study into the possible long-term health effects of mobile phone use. It is an international cohort study that is taking place in five countries: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Information on the progress of the UK study is available here:

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