Swedish Study Finds that Cell Phones May Increase Brain Tumor Risk
OREBRO, SWEDEN -- April 7, 2006 -- Talking on your cell phone could be hazardous to your health, according to a new Swedish study. The researchers found that heavy use of mobile and cell phones increases the risk of developing brain tumors, especially high-grade tumors that take more than 10 years to develop. "Heavy use" was defined as over 2,000 hours in a lifetime. The risk was highest for young people under the age of 20. One of the authors, Kjell Mild, suggested that the way to decrease cancer risk was to use a hands-free phone (Boston-Herald, April 4, 2006).
During telephone calls, the brain is exposed to radio frequency signals that are emitted from the cell phone. In the study, brain cancer risk was higher for tumors on the same side of the head as the exposure to the radio frequency field. The researchers pooled the results of two of their studies about brain tumors that were diagnosed during 1997-2003. Nine hundred and five patients with brain cancer and 2,162 controls with no brain disease took part in the combined studies (International Archives of Environmental Health, March 16, 2006).
The results conflict with earlier reports, including one done by the Dutch Health Council, that found no relationship between cell phone radiation and brain cancer. A UK study concluded that there was no substantial risk of brain cancer in the first decade after starting mobile phone use, but did not rule out an increase in risk after longer term use (Br J Cancer, 2005 Oct 3;93(7): 842-8).