Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 325–329 | Cite as

Are Wireless Phones Safe? A Review of the Issue

  • Michele L. Masley
  • Brian F. Habbick
  • Walter O. Spitzer
  • Maria A. Stuchly


Most wireless phones and their corresponding base stations operate at a very low power output and in the radiofrequency range of 800 to 2000 Megahertz. Current international guidelines protect against thermal biological effects in terms of the local or whole-body specific absorption rate (SAR). Potential non-thermal bio-effects resulting from the use of wireless phones are not established and laboratory (i.e., in vitro, in vivo) studies have shown conflicting results. Epidemiological studies of potential human health effects are few but are expected to emerge in the near future. Challenges to epi-demiological research include difficult exposure assessment, selection of appropriate controls, potential confounding bias, and validation of outcome. Scientists, community advocacy groups, and public health professionals must be equipped to critically analyze the emerging evidence within a benefit/risk assessment framework.


La plupart des téléphones sans fil ainsi que leurs supports fonctionnent avec de faibles puissance de sortie et à des fréquences radio allant de 800 à 2000 mégahertz. Les lignes directrices internationales actuelles ont pour objet de protéger des effets biologiques thermiques du point de vue du taux spécifique d’absorption localisé ou total. Aucun effet biologique non thermique résultant de l’usage de téléphone sans fil n’a été établi et les études en laboratoire (c.-à-d. in vitro, in vivo) ont donné des résultats contradictoires. Il existe pour le moment peu d’études épidémiologiques sur les effets potentiels sur la santé humaine mais il devrait y en avoir plus dans un avenir proche. Les difficultés que posent les études épidémiologiques comprennent notamment celle d’évaluer l’exposition, la sélection des témoins appropriés, le potentiel de facteurs confondants et la validation des résultats. Les chercheurs scientifiques, les groupes de protection du consommateur et les professionnels de la santé publique doivent être en mesure d’analyser les données en pesant les avantages et les risques.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele L. Masley
    • 1
  • Brian F. Habbick
    • 2
  • Walter O. Spitzer
    • 3
  • Maria A. Stuchly
    • 4
  1. 1.CroMedica Global Inc.VictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health and EpidemiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of VictoriaCanada

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