Mark Bridge writes:
We have a new “mobile phone cancer” report to read - but, despite the headline, it offers no concrete reassurance or firm proof.
The main problem, as we’ve said on many occasions, is that proving ‘absolute safety’ is nigh-on impossible... particularly when the technology and the usage patterns keep changing.
This latest study into the relationship between mobile phone use and the risk of children and adolescents developing brain tumours - published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute - has concluded that “mobile phone users had no statistically significant difference in brain tumor risk compared with nonusers”.
In addition, it notes “Risk did not increase with the duration of mobile phone use. Nor was risk higher in the areas of the brain that came into closest proximity to a hand-held mobile phone.”
The CEFALO study was conducted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. Researchers spoke to children and adolescents who’d been diagnosed with a brain tumour between 2004 and 2008, while a group of control subjects were selected randomly.
However, changing usage and new technology mean the study is unlikely to offer any firm reassurance. Not only do the researchers note that the “amount and duration of mobile phone use was relatively small and may have increased in this age-group since the time of this study”, they also point out that most participants used GSM mobile phones that operate at a higher average power than today’s 3G handsets.
In a nutshell, kids are now using their mobile phones more - but they’re also tending to use lower-powered devices. Which means it’s time for a new study.