Cellphone cancer warning: World to follow Maine’s lead?

The telecom industry is warning that governments around the world are likely to debate cellphone cancer warnings later this month.


Last week, Maine legislators’ announced attempts to force phone makers to affix cigarette-style health warning stickers to their products warning that cellphone use can cause brain cancer, despite a lack of scientific consensus.

State Representative Andrea Boland is pushing for Maine to become the first to require the warnings, saying she ‘was convinced from what she had read’ that the radiation from cellphones increased the risk of brain cancer when held at the ear, especially in children under 18.

“The main thing is that the warning labels get on there, and when people go to purchase something they have a heads-up that they need to really think about it,” said Boland. “This is a big important industry, and it’s a small modification to assure people that they should handle them properly.”

The Australian telecoms industry expects a worldwide wave of concern when the legislation is debated in the US.

Randal Markey, from the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, said it was understandable that people would have concerns about mobile phones because of their experience with health scares such as tobacco and asbestos.

“We do not expect everyone to accept our assurances about mobile phone safety,” he said. “Our industry relies on the expert opinion of international health agencies for an overall assessment of health and safety issues. There is no established evidence that radio frequency exposure within internationally accepted safety limits causes adverse health effects.”