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This page was published on 06/02/2007
Published: 06/02/2007

   Infocentre

Last Update: 06-02-2007  
Related category(ies):
Information society  |  Health & life sciences  |  Special Collections  |  Science in society

 

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No link between mobiles and cancer ... yet, European researchers say

A recent study examining the adverse health effects of long-term mobile phone use has found no clear link between mobiles and brain cancer. Researchers are quick to point out, however, that that doesn't necessarily mean no such link exists. They stress that more research is needed before the exact relation between the radio waves associated with the ubiquitous mobile phone and cancer risks can be definitively established. Researchers in Finland conducted their study in five European countries to better understand how, if at all, sustained exposure to radio waves is linked to brain cancer.

Recent research comes as good news to mobile users and health officials alike in heavy-use countries (in red). © Matt+
Recent research comes as good news to mobile users and health officials alike in heavy-use countries (in red).
Researchers compared mobile users in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and England suffering from a type of tumour known as glioma with a control group to determine if the tumours were related to mobile phone use. Glioma is a malignant central nervous system tumour commonly located in the brain. Their study, the most extensive to date, found no evidence to suggest that the tumours were tied to mobiles.

The research team studied several different factors related to mobile use, including duration of use, years since first use, and cumulative number of calls or cumulative hours of use, but detected no increase in the risk of brain cancer.

Though this may come as good news to those who can't seem to put their phones down, the research team stresses that extensive mobile phone use is a relatively recent, and growing, phenomenon that will require further study to before the ramifications of sustained exposure can be positively established.

“Even though the results do not indicate that mobile phone use increases the risk of cancer, we need more research data on long-term use,” says Anssi Auvinen, Research Professor at the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

Even though the research team did determine that there was increased incidence of brain tumours on the side of the head where test subjects held the phone, they were unable to draw a clear link.

Despite this find, they state that their results “overall do not indicate an increased risk of glioma in relation to mobile phone use, the possible risk in the most heavily exposed part of the brain with long-term use needs to be explored further before firm conclusions can be drawn.”

The study was partially funded by the ‘Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources' programme of the European Union, and the researchers expect that the final results of the EU-funded INTERPHONE project will significantly expand our understanding of the relationship between radio frequency exposure and cancer.

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See also

International Journal of Cancer
Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources programme
‘Mobile phones and cancer’, RTD info, 8 2005
The INTERPHONE Study





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