‘No convincing proof of mobile-cancer link’

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.