February 6, 2008

Study Finds Mobile Phones Don’t Increase Cancer Risk

A new Japanese study suggests that using mobile phones does not raise the risk of brain tumors. The study, conducted by Tokyo Women's Medical University, found no increased risk of the three main types of brain cancer in those who regularly use mobile phones.

The research is the first of its kind to examine the effects of handset radiation levels on different parts of the brain.

The study compared 322 brain cancer patients with one of the three most common types of brain tumor "“ glioma, meningioma or pituitary adenoma "“ and 683 healthy people. Each participant was given a rating based on their years of mobile phone use, and the length of time they used it per day.

Next, the researchers examined the radiation emitted from different types of mobile phones, and assigned them into one of four categories according to radiation levels.  Finally, the researchers studied the ways each phone was likely to affect different areas of the brain.

Lead researcher Professor Naohito Yamaguchi told BBC News, "Using our newly developed and more accurate techniques, we found no association between mobile phone use and cancer, providing more evidence to suggest they don't cause brain cancer."

To date, research on mobile phone safety has produced contradictory findings, although most prior studies have suggested there is not a link to increased cancer risk.  In the largest study to date, researchers studied 420,000 people and found no evidence of a cancer link after 10 years of mobile phone use.

Dr Lesley Walker of the charity Cancer Research UK told BBC News, "So far, studies have shown no evidence that mobile use is harmful, but we can't be completely sure about their long-term effects."

A spokesperson for the campaign group Mast Sanity told BBC, "The results of this new study need to be added to the body of evidence. No single study can stand alone."

"Interestingly, in this research they noted an increase in glioma on the side of the head where the phone is used but put it down to reporting bias.  Industry and government funded studies tend to do this but it is not scientific to dismiss results that are inconvenient."