Latest INTERPHONE report finds no increased risk of tumours from mobile phone use

The latest INTERPHONE report has found no increased risk of acoustic neuroma – a rare, benign tumour of the ear nerve – from mobile phone use, says the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).


INTERPHONE, a 13-nation study, is the biggest study undertaken of its kind into potential health impacts of mobile phones. It was co-ordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).


The researchers, in a paper published this week in Cancer Epidemiology, found no overall acoustic neuroma (AN) risk for regular mobile phone use for 10 years or more.

The researchers said:


“In conclusion, we did not observe an increase in risk of AN with regular use of a mobile phone or in a mobile phone user who began use 10 years of more before the reference date [of diagnosis].”


The researchers also did not find any trend in the risk of acoustic neuroma with increasing mobile phone use.


They did find an increased risk in a small group of long-term users who used their phones on the same side of the head as their tumour, however, this result could be the result of chance or bias in the study.


The INTERPHONE researchers noted:


“There were 16 cases (1.4%) and 22 controls (1%) who reported 5 hours or more of mobile phone use per day, an implausible amount, most of them contributing to the category of >1640 hours of cumulative call time.”


The researchers said that light users tended to under estimate mobile phone use and heavy users overestimated it, which could lead to an over-estimation of the strength of an association, if there was one.


AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said the INTERPHONE results would need to be considered by independent health authorities and expert groups to assess their significance, if any, to people’s health.


He said researchers had looked at the incidence of brain cancer over the past three decades and there has been no rise in the incidence rates despite the huge uptake of mobile phone use.


The WHO’s latest fact sheet says:


“A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”



Mr Althaus said the mobile telecommunications industry supports well-conducted and independent research to clarify any uncertainty identified by the INTERPHONE research.


For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA Communications Manager, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550