London: Long-term use of mobile phones may cause cancer,
although there is “no convincing evidence” to suggest that,
claims the biggest ever review of the subject.
The review, carried out by the British Health Protection
Agency’s Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR), found
that a large number of studies have been published on cancer
risks; but none of them had demonstrated that mobiles actually
cause brain tumours or any other types of cancer.
A small number of individual studies have claimed to have
found evidence of a link between heavy mobile phone use and
increased brain tumour incidence.
Two years ago, the INTERPHONE study had reported that the
heaviest users could be at a 40% increased risk of developing
glioma, a common type of brain cancer. But, most studies have
found no such association.
Launching the 333-page report, which reviewed hundreds of
studies, professor Anthony Swerdlow, chairman of AGNIR, said, “I
think there is a need to keep a watch on national cancer trends
in relation to this, particularly with brain tumours.
“So far brain tumour rates are not rising in the sorts of
age groups who have had exposure for 10, 15 years. But if this
is something that takes 15, 20 years or more to show up... we
need to keep watch over rates just in case,” Swerdlow was quoted
as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
Swerdlow, also an epidemiologist at the Institute of Cancer
Research, said that researchers running cohort studies also
needed to investigate the matter to see if heavy users of mobile
phones tended to develop brain tumours more than others.
The review found no evidence that radiofrequency
electromagnetic fields caused by wi-fi caused harmful effects.
Neither did it find any proof that cellphone transmitters caused
health problems, and recommended that “excessive” use of mobile
phones by kids should be discouraged while adults should make
their own decision.