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Monday, July 4, 2011

Independent panel analyses scientific research into mobile phone health concerns

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Standing Committee on Epidemiology has just published a report after analysing all published studies that examined whether there is a link between mobile phone use and the main types of brain tumour.

It concludes “Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults.”

The ICNIRP is the international body recognised by the World Health Organization that constructs guidelines for exposure limits for non-ionizing radiation (including radiofrequency fields emitted by mobile phones) and publishes reviews of the health effects of such exposures. Its Standing Committee on Epidemiology is chaired by Professor Anthony Swerdlow from The Institute of Cancer Research.

Professor Swerdlow and his colleagues noted that the recent Interphone study was impressively large and comprehensive but had several methodological deficits. They concluded that its results, in conjunction with other studies that have examined risks after use of mobile phones and the location of tumours relative to phone use, gave no convincing evidence of a link to glioma and meningioma tumours.

The committee also noted that studies had shown no indication of increases in brain tumour incidence up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones. Research has also not established any biological way in which radiofrequency fields from mobile phones could cause cancer.

Professor Swerdlow said examination of cancer incidence rates over the next few years should help clarify whether mobile phones cause brain tumours.

The report follows the IARC’s classification of radiofrequency fields emitted by mobile phones as being “possibly carcinogenic”.

[Environmental Health Perspectives]

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