Mobile phones do NOT cause cancer (Again)

Mobile phones ‘do not cause cancer’

By Katie Hodge
Saturday, July 02, 2011

SCIENTIFIC evidence is increasingly suggesting that mobile phones do not cause cancer.
A comprehensive independent review of all scientific research on the issue has found “no convincing evidence of a link” between mobile technology and brain tumours.

However, the review panel, made up of scientists from the British-based Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) — one of the world’s leading cancer research centres — said the possibility of small or long-term repercussions would only be available following a review of cancer rates in the next few years.

The panel’s conclusions contradict a recent study, the largest of its kind to date, which claimed radiation associated with mobile handsets could potentially increase the risk of glioma, a malignant form of the disease.

While the ICR panel accepted the Interphone study findings were “comprehensive”, they pointed to problems with the study that made it difficult to draw definite conclusions.

The results showed no increases in brain tumours up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones and a decade after their use became widespread, the review panel said.

It also failed to establish any biological explanation for how handsets could cause cancer in humans while animals exposed to radiation appeared unaffected.

Professor Anthony Swerdlow, who led the ICR research, said such uncertainty was bound to remain for years.

The trends “suggest that, within 10 to 15 years after first use of mobile phones, there is unlikely to be a material increase in the risk of brain tumours in adults”, Prof Swerdlow said.

“However, the possibility of a small or a longer term effect cannot be ruled out.

“If there are no apparent effects on trends in the next few years, after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it will become increasingly implausible that there is a material causal effect.”

The report, published today in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, has been widely welcomed.

David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, said: “This report is clear that any risk appears to be so small that it is very hard to detect — even in the masses of people now using mobile phones.”

David Coggon, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Southampton University, said: “Continued research is needed in case there are harmful effects in the longer term, but the news so far is good.”

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Saturday, July 02, 2011