Saturday, October 22, 2011

Danish Study Demonstrates Mobile Phone Users At No Greater Risk of Cancer

A new Danish study that examined reports from Denmark’s centralized cancer registry and subscriber records from mobile-phone networks for 358,403 Danes aged at least 30 from 1990 to 2007 reveals the mobile phone users have no greater risk of cancer that those that do not use mobile phones. This comprehensive study was published yesterday (October 21) in the British Medical Journal.

“We didn’t find a higher risk for people subscribing for a mobile phone in the adult population,” according to Patrizia Frei, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, who directed the study while at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen.

The study is the largest of its type and used data that was already available, instead of retrospectively interviewing phone subscribers whose recall could be selective or unreliable. The findings may help clarify previous research into the link between mobile phones and brain tumors, which the authors said has been inconclusive and, in some cases, criticized for being biased or prone to error.

COMMENT: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), said in June that mobile phones may cause brain cancer. A month later, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s committee on epidemiology undermined those findings, saying that using the technology may not increase the risk of tumors after reviewing studies from several countries.

More than five billion mobile-phone subscriptions are held worldwide, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITC). Concerns have arisen over whether exposing the brain to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones leads to cancer. The IARC said the fields were “possibly” carcinogenic, the same category as diesel fuel and chloroform.

One reliability factor contained in the Danish study was that the data that was used included only those who had a mobile phone contract. Hence, it is possible that corporate accounts were excluded. Some non-users of phones may have been counted among the subscribers and some heavy users may not have been included in the study population, wrote Anders Ahlbom, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in an accompanying commentary. The research was funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council.

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