March 30, 2008
Study: Mobile Phones More Dangerous Than Smoking
A new study led by award-winning cancer expert Dr. Vini Khurana has found mobile phone use could be even more dangerous than smoking or asbestos exposure.
Dr. Khurana's study presents the most disturbing evidence to date about the health risks of mobile phones, and supports mounting data that mobile phone use over a 10 year time period can more than double a person's risk for brain cancer.
Dr. Khurana, a renowned neurosurgeon who has published over three dozen scientific papers and received over 14 awards in the last 16 years, said people should avoid using cell phones whenever possible, and called on governments and industry to take "immediate steps" to reduce radiation exposure through the devices.
Many previous studies included very little examination of people who had used mobile phones for an extended period of 10 years or more. Since cancer can take at least a decade to develop, the lack of data for this group invalidates many of the official safety assurances based on those studies.
Earlier this year, the French government warned against mobile phone use, particularly by children. And Germany and the European Environment Agency have also urged its people to minimize their exposure to mobile handsets.
But not everyone agrees with Professor Khurana's conclusions. Last week the Mobile Operators Association rejected Khurana's study as "a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual". The group said the study "does not present a balanced analysis" of the published science, and "reaches opposite conclusions to the WHO and more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews".
In conducting his study of mobile phone use, Professor Khurana reviewed more than 100 previous studies on the effects of mobile handsets. He has posted his analysis on a neurosurgery Web site, and a paper about his research is currently under peer review for publication in a leading scientific journal.
Although he acknowledges that mobile phones can be lifesavers in times of emergencies, he nevertheless concludes "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumors". Khurana told the UK newspaper The Independent that he believes his conclusion will be "definitively proven" within the next decade.
"We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and dangerous situation," he told the Independent, adding that malignant brain tumors are "a life-ending diagnosis".
Khurana worries of a sharp increase in malignant brain tumors worldwide over the coming decade, "unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps".
"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking," Khurana said, basing his conclusion on the fact that there are currently three billion mobile phone users worldwide, three times the number of smokers.
According to a report by The Independent, smoking is responsible for five million deaths globally each year, and in Britain asbestos exposure kills as many people as traffic accidents.