Cellphone companies say they follow gov't instructions

In response WHO report linking mobile phone use to certain brain tumors, country’s 3 biggest providers pledge “safe, high-quality services."

By NADAV SHEMER, REUTERS
June 2, 2011 01:48
2 minute read.
Cell phone user [illustrative]

man speaking on cell phone cellular 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouse)

The country’s three biggest cellphone companies said on Wednesday they will continue to work toward providing “safe and high-quality cellular services,” in response to a report from the World Health Organization linking mobile phone use to certain types of brain tumors.

The Israel Cellular Forum, which represents Cellcom, Pelephone and Partner (which operates Orange), said, “The cellular companies operate and will continue to operate in accordance with the instructions and standards determined by the Health and Environmental Protection ministries.”

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It added, “According to the World Health Organization, the Health and Environmental Protection ministries, for full and optimal deployment of antennas, there is much importance in reducing emitted radiation, both from cellular devices and from the antennas.”

The Health Ministry said in a statement that for the past four years it has defined use of cellular phones as “possibly carcinogenic,” and that its recommendations for safe use of the phones can be seen on its website.

The ministry is in the process of establishing a unit to coordinate policy on radiation, “among other things, on the topic of cellular phones and their health effects,” it said, adding, “It is the ministry’s intention to increase its involvement in the future planning of the deployment and use of cellular networks.”

The Communications Ministry, which is charged with overseeing cellular phone operators, said that it acts according to the instructions of the Health and Environmental Protection ministries.

Cancer experts from the Geneva-based WHO said on Tuesday that using mobile phones might increase the risk of developing certain types of brain tumors, and consumers should consider ways of reducing their exposure.

A working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries meeting at the WHO’s International Agency for Research and Cancer (IARC) said a review of all available scientific evidence suggested cellphone use should be classified as “possibly carcinogenic.”

The classification, which puts mobile phone use in the same broad IARC cancer risk category as lead, chloroform and coffee, could spur the United Nations health body to look again at its guidelines on mobile phones, the scientists said. But further research is needed before a more definitive answer on any link can be given.

The WHO had previously said there was no established evidence for a link between cellphone use and cancer.

“After reviewing essentially all the evidence that is relevant... the working group classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans,” Jonathan Samet, chairman of


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