MIAMI ( – For the first time, the World Health Organization listed cell phone use in the same carcinogenic hazard category as engine exhaust and chloroform.

The Tuesday decision from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer completely reversed course for the organization. Previously, the WHO said consumers were at no risk of adverse health effects from cell phone usage.

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WHO scientists from 14 countries made the decision after examining studies on cell phone safety. They found that cell phone usage is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Dr. Jonathan Samet of USC led the group and indicated that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

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The WHO stopped short of saying cell phone usage causes cancer. Still, the WHO found enough evidence to warn consumers that there is a possibility that cell phones are carcinogenic to humans.

According to CNN, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage on children, but an expert told CNN that “the impact of radiation can be much larger.”

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“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,” said IARC Director Christopher Wild, “it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting. “