Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, has refuted a statement circulating sections of the media alleging that the use of mobile phones can cause cancer. According to Johnson, there are no proven health hazards resulting from the use of mobile phones or proximity to telecommunications installations for now that could pose a risk to human health.
In a statement made available by the SA Media to Dr Johnson, Efem Nkanga described the statement as a personal misinformed view of Engr Ngozi Ogunjiofor, a deputy director, Department of Posts and Telecoms, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, that is not backed by proven scientific analysis.
Ogunjiofor had expressed a personal opinion and was quoted as saying that the use of mobile phones can cause cancer.
According to reports, Ogunjiofor had said: “The most dangerous and important element in the communications sector are mobile phones, because of the health and other related risks they bring. Some radioactive elements in the mobile phone might affect the body and cause cancer and other health challenges. Radiation from phones can cause problems, and this is why we are advising the public not to bring phones close to their body or use in the rain. Radio waves produced by mobile phones could interfere with important electrical equipment, such as telecom masts, monitors, hospitals equipment’s and electrical systems on airplanes, and that is why the ministry made it mandatory for operators to install their masts five kilometres away from residential areas.’’
Ogunjiofor added that: “dangerous driving is caused by mobile phones and it is important for operators to also enlighten the public on the risks, because this will also help members of the society to enjoy their lives. Mothers should not allow their children to play with mobile phones, especially when they are not of the age of using a mobile phone and are not well educated on the use of it.’’
Describing the statement as a personal opinion that does not represent the position of the Minister or Ministry of Communication Technology, Nkanga enjoined Nigerians to disregard the caution on the use of mobile phones as various researches conducted by international organisations on the safety of mobile phones use till date remain inconclusive.
Nkanga stressed that until results of a definitive and conclusive research is obtained with zero doubts on the safety of cell phone use, Nigerians can safely continue using their mobile phones.
The World Health Organisation WHO in September 2013 stated that: ’’Based on mixed epidemiological evidence on humans regarding an association between exposure to RF radiation from wireless phones and head cancers (glioma and acoustic neuroma), RF fields have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease’’.
WHO also included that, ‘’While an increased risk of brain tumours from the use of mobile phones is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk. In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group and is currently assessing the health impact of RF fields on all studied endpoints’’