The health risks of using mobile phones are far higher than previously thought, scientists warned.
They claim that using a mobile for just half an hour a day raises the risk of developing brain cancer by more than 40 per cent.
With 70 million mobile phones in use in Britain – more than one per person – the findings, if proved correct, could have a huge impact on the nation’s health. But last night other cancer researchers urged caution, insisting that the scientists’ claims were “overblown”.
Those behind the new claims criticised as flawed a £15million landmark study, saying it posed “more questions than answers” over cancer dangers to mobile phone users. Lloyd Morgan, of campaign group International EMF Collaborative, said: “People should hear the message that cell phones should be kept away from one’s head and body at all times.”
The findings came after Mr Morgan and other experts reviewed the World Health Organisation’s Interphone report, one of the most comprehensive studies of the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer.
Research by Mr Morgan, endorsed by 40 scientists, found flaws in the Interphone report, which claimed the heaviest mobile users were in greater danger of developing malignant glioma tumours, which account for half of all brain tumours in the UK.
The Interphone report said the cancer risk was raised by a third. But Mr Morgan’s team claim that the increased risk was at least 41 per cent.
They also criticised the report for defining “heavy use” as just 30 minutes a day and “regular use” as at least one call a week over a six-month period.
Other flaws included the fact that the study only looked at users under 30, with the researchers admitting many young people use mobiles for an hour or more every day.
Cordless phones – which may have the same effect on the brain – were not taken into account either.
But Ed Young, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information, said the Collaborative’s figures were “overblown”.
He said: “The majority of studies in people have found no link between mobile phones and cancer, national brain cancer rates have not increased in proportion to skyrocketing phone use and there are still no good explanations for how mobile phones could cause cancer.
“Even after the minor adjustments reported in this new analysis, the results from the Interphone study are still either not statistically significant or on the borderline.” Cancer Research UK figures show that eight people per 100,000 develop brain cancer every year.
Charity WiredChild last night said not enough was being done to deter mobile phone use.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We welcomes Interphone’s findings that there is no association between mobile phone use (up to 12 years) and cancers of the brain and nervous system and that the overall study supports the UK’s 2006 findings.
“Some uncertainties remain amongst the highest users and we are pleased to see this research will continue.
“Our guidance remains the same; children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep all calls short.”
The French are taking steps to change the law in order to protect children from the potential dangers of mobile phone. Its time for the British Government to follow suit!
Set of recommendations:
1) All cell phones must be sold with a device limiting head exposure to EMF.
2) Any advertising campaign promoting the use of cell phones by children below 14 years is banned.
3) Providing radio equipments designed for children under 6 may be banned by ministerial order.
4) In kindergarten primary school and junior high, the use of cell phones is banned for kids during all teaching activities in locations listed in School rules.
5) For all cell phones sold on the French territory the SAR must be indicated clearly and in French. Possible risks resulting from excessive use must also be mentioned
In addition Russian officials have recommended that children under the age of 18 years not use cell phones at all. Similarly, Israel, Belgium, Germany and India have discouraged use of cell phones by children. In Finland, the Radiation and Nuclear Power Authority has urged parents to err on the side of caution.
President Obama’s Cancer Panel reported in May, 2010 that "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and strongly urged action to reduce people's widespread exposure to carcinogens.
Quote taken from the report: “Another sensitive issue raised in the report was the risk of brain cancer from cell phones. Scientists are divided on whether there is a link. Until more research is conducted, the panel recommended that people reduce their usage by making fewer and shorter calls, using hands-free devices so that the phone is not against the head and refraining from keeping a phone on a belt or in a pocket. Even if cell phones raise the risk of cancer slightly, so many people are exposed that "it could be a large public health burden," Schettler said”
Link to full report