Cell Phone Users 5 Times More Likely To Develop Tumours
People who talk on mobile phones are up to five times more likely to develop brain tumours than those who stick to landlines, academics have warned.
They say a number of previous studies into mobile phone safety 'substantially underestimated' the cancer risks and that tumours are much more common on the side of the head to which the mobile is held than on the other side.
After reanalysing the earlier studies they concluded that the risk of these tumours is between 10 and 500 per cent higher with long-term mobile phone use.
Lead researcher Lloyd Morgan warned yesterday that the findings raised the possibility of 'a brain tumour pandemic' unless people change their pattern of mobile phone use.
Mr Morgan, of the Environmental Health Trust, a U.S. campaign group, spoke out after re-examining the figures from six previous studies.
These included a Swedish one which originally concluded that people who used mobile phones for at least ten years were 3.9 times more likely to develop an acoustic neuinroma - a non-cancerous tumour - on a nerve near the ear to which they held their phone compared to those who rarely or never used the devices.
The reanalysis, designed to take into account flaws in the design of the study which could have skewed the results, put the increased risk at 4.9 times.
Another study had concluded that ten years of mobile phone use raised the odds of 'same side' gliomas - aggressive brain tumours - by 60 per cent.
But if the new technique is applied, the risk is raised by 100 per cent, a scientific conference in Seoul, South Korea, will hear today.
Reanalysis of a third study concluded that every 100 hours of mobile phone use raises the odds of meningioma, another common brain cancer, by 24 per cent.
The results of some of these studies were included in the world's largest study on mobile phone safety.
Released to much fanfare in May, the Interphone project concluded that ten or more years of mobile phone use raised the risk of a glioma appearing on the side of the head to which the phone is held by 21 per cent.
The British scientists involved in the study said the figures were flawed and urged people not to worry.
They pointed out that some of those who took part claimed to have used their mobiles for more than 12 hours a day ten years ago - something which was 'incredibly implausible'.
In addition, brain growths can affect memory, meaning some of those with tumours may have over-estimated how much they had used their phone.
Mr Morgan's team crunched the same figures but tried to factor in the effect of various design flaws.
This showed the increased odds of 'same side' gliomas to be 51 per cent - more than twice as high as estimated in the May study.
However, British cancer experts said predictions of a 'brain tumour pandemic' were overblown. Ed Yong, of Cancer Research UK, said: 'Even after the minor adjustments reported in this new analysis, the results from the overall Interphone study are still either not statistically significant, or right on the borderline.'
John Cooke, of the Mobile Operators Association, which represents the industry, said a World Health Organisation fact sheet last month stated that 'to date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use'.