Studies show no statistically significant link between mobiles phones and tumours

None of the studies cited in newspaper reports this week found a statistically significant association between mobile phones and brain tumours, the CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Chris Althaus, said.

In fact, all the studies found overall using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of brain tumours.

Mr Althaus said it was inappropriate to selectively report findings that were not statistically significant. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that results of diverse studies (cellular, animal and epidemiology) must be considered together before drawing conclusions about possible health risks of a suspected environmental hazard.

Newspaper reports claimed that people who had used mobile phones for 10 years or more had an increased risk of brain tumours. The report said British, German and Swedish studies had found a higher health risk from using mobiles for more than a decade.

Mr Althaus said: “The claim that there is a link between long-term mobile phone use and brain tumours is based on very small numbers because brain cancer is a very rare disease. For example, the German study includes only 12 cases out of 747 where mobile phones have been used for more than 10 years.”

These studies are part of a 13-nation INTERPHONE study coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. Once completed, it is expected that the INTERPHONE project and its individual national studies will have examined 6000 cases of gliomas and meningiomas.

Mr Althaus said a complete assessment could not be made until the results of the other national studies were available and analysed by IARC later this year.

“The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes and supports new research on mobile phone safety, which is in accordance with the WHO’s research program. However, we emphasise that individual studies need to be seen in the light of the total research effort into mobile phone safety. Accurate information will assist people to make informed choices in relation to mobile technology and health”, he said.


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