Some people are concerned that radio frequency energy from cell phones will cause cancer or other serious health hazards. Based on the evaluation of the currently available information, the FDA believes that the weight of scientific evidence has not linked exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phone use with any health problems at or below the radio frequency exposure limits set by the FCC.
- Cell phones emit low levels of radio frequency energy, a type of non-ionizing radiation.
- The available scientific data on exposure to radio frequency energy show no categorical proof of any adverse biological effects other than tissue heating.
- Public health data show no association between exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phone use and health problems.
Cell Phones and Radio Frequency Energy
Cell phones emit low levels of non-ionizing radiation when in use. The type of radiation emitted by cell phones is also referred to as radio frequency (RF) energy. As stated by the National Cancer Institute, "there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk in humans. The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency radiation in humans is heating."
See Radio Frequency Energy and Cell Phones for the basics on radio frequency energy and non-ionizing radiation.
Scientific Consensus on Cell Phone Safety
Scientific studies: The FDA’s physicians, scientists, and engineers regularly analyze scientific studies and publications for evidence of health effects of exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones. The weight of nearly 30 years of scientific evidence has not linked exposure to radio frequency energy from use of cell phones to health problems, such as cancer.
Public health data: The FDA also monitors and analyzes public health data on cancer rates in the U.S. population. The data clearly demonstrate no widespread rise in brain and other nervous system cancers in the last 30 years despite the enormous increase in cell phone use during this period. In fact, the rate of brain and other nervous system cancers diagnosed in United States has decreased for the last 15 years or so.
See Scientific Evidence for Cell Phone Safety for details on the scientific studies and public health data.
Determinations by other organizations: Many national and international organizations also monitor radio frequency research. This section highlights some of these agencies’ considerations.
- National Cancer Institute (NCI): Cell Phones and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Wireless Devices and Health Concerns
- World Health Organization (WHO): Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones
- International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP): Mobile Phones
- Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission: Conclusions on Radio Frequency (RF) Fields
- Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), European Union: Final opinion on potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Non-ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields
- National Toxicology Program (NTP): Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation
See Scientific Evidence for Cell Phone Safety for more details.