New mobiles study doubts cancer risks
July 3, 2011
MOBILE phones may not increase the risk of brain cancer, a study has
found, just a month after the World Health Organisation said using the
devices may cause tumours.
Studies from several countries have failed to show an increase in brain
tumours, up to 20 years after mobile phones were introduced and 10 years
after the technology became widespread, the International Commission on
Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection's committee on epidemiology wrote in the
journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The findings of the committee, which included scientists from Australia,
challenge those of an International Agency for Research on Cancer review.
However, the debate is likely to continue because data is limited and
researchers cannot prove the complete absence of an impact on the world's
4.6 billion mobile users.
''This is a really difficult issue to research,'' David Spiegelhalter, the
Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of
Cambridge, said. ''This report is clear that any risk appears to be so
small that it is very hard to detect.''
The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection sets
guidelines for exposure limits to radiation, including radio frequency
fields emitted by mobile phones.
The panel reviewed all previous studies on the link between mobile phone
use and brain tumours, including the largest epidemiological study to
date, known as Interphone, which could not find a definite link between
mobile use and certain types of brain tumours.
Last month the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the
Geneva-based WHO that classifies cancer risks, said exposure to
radiofrequency electromagnetic fields was greater from handsets than phone
towers and base stations.