No evidence of mobile phone brain cancer link

There is no biological, medical, or statistical basis to assert a link between mobile phone use and brain cancer, AMTA Chief Executive Chris Althaus said in response to media reports earlier this week.

The Courier Mail (Tuesday 9 October) reported Swedish research indicated regular use of a mobile phone over more than a decade can raise the risk of cancers.

The research, published in the Occupational Environmental Medicine journal by Lennart Hardell, found long-term users had double the chance of getting a malignant tumour on the side of the brain as where they held the handset.

In response to the allegations, Mr Althaus noted that the research study was not new research, but was instead a selective review of previous studies.

“The data used in the Hardell study has been reviewed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international health authorities who state there are no established health risks from using mobile phones.”

Mr Althaus emphasised that individual studies need to be seen in light of the total research effort.

“When the weight of scientific evidence is considered, as several independent organisations and governments have done, the only reasonable conclusion is there is no established evidence of health effects from mobile phone use,” Mr Althaus said.

Furthermore, Lennart Hardell has attracted criticism in the past for his research methods. In response to recent Hardell research, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public statement (6 April 2006).

“The results reported by Hardell et al. are not in agreement with results obtained in other long term studies.”

Noting that the Hardell et al study’s design was “significantly different from the other studies”, the FDA added, “[t]hese facts along with the lack of an established mechanism of action and supporting animal data makes the Hardell et al’s finding difficult to interpret.”