H e a l t h a n d S a f e t y
What is known about cases of human cancer that have been reported
in users of hand-held mobile phones?
What is FDA's role concerning the safety of mobile phones?
Accompli 009 User's Guide
Some people who have used mobile phones have been diagnosed
with brain cancer. But it is important to understand that this type of
cancer also occurs among people who have not used mobile phones.
In fact, brain cancer occurs in the U.S. population at a rate of about
6 new cases per 100,000 people each year. At that rate, assuming
80 million users of mobile phones (a number increasing at a rate of
about 1 million per month), about 4800 cases of brain cancer would
be expected each year among those 80 million people, whether or
not they used their phones. Thus it is not possible to tell whether any
individual's cancer arose because of the phone, or whether it would
have happened anyway. A key question is whether the risk of getting
a particular form of cancer is greater among people who use mobile
phones than among the rest of the population. One way to answer
that question is to compare the usage of mobile phones among people
with brain cancer with the use of mobile phones among appropriately
matched people without brain cancer. This is called a case-control
study. The current case-control study of brain cancers by the National
Cancer Institute, as well as the follow-up research to be sponsored
by industry, will begin to generate this type of information.
Under the law, FDA does not review the safety of radiation-emitting
consumer products such as mobile phones before marketing, as it
does with new drugs or medical devices. However, the agency has
authority to take action if mobile phones are shown to emit radiation
at a level that is hazardous to the user. In such a case, FDA could
require the manufacturers of mobile phones to notify users of the
health hazard and to repair, replace or recall the phones so that the
hazard no longer exists.
Although the existing scientific data do not justify FDA regulatory
actions at this time, FDA has urged the mobile phone industry to take
a number of steps to assure public safety. The agency has
recommended that the industry:
support needed research into possible biological effects of RF of
the type emitted by mobile phones;
design mobile phones in a way that minimizes any RF exposure
to the user that is not necessary for device function; and