There has not been a rise in brain tumors that correlates with widespread cell phone use.
That is the conclusion of a newly published study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
A 30-year examination in the incidents of brain tumors was undertaken among 20 to 79-year-olds by the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"If mobile phones were to cause brain tumors we would expect to see a sudden rise in the number of brain tumors at some point in time, and we don't see it," said lead researcher Isabelle Deltour of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen to US News.
The study looked at data from 60,000 people who had brain tumors - glioma and meningioma - in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden between 1974 and 2003.
During this 30-year-period, gliomas increased gradually by 0.5 percent per year among men and by 0.2 percent per year among women. Meningioma increased by 0.8 percent among men and 3.8 percent among women, primarily seen in the 60-79 year age group, according to researchers.
Between 1998 and 2003 when cell phone use escalated, there was no change in the brain tumor rate.
But Isabelle Deltour, who led the study, agrees that it is possible cell phones and their use have not been around long enough to see the trend a brain tumors often take a long time to develop.
"Either it means that mobile phones don't cause brain tumors or it means that we don't see it yet or we don't see it because the increase is too small to be observed in this population, or it is a risk that is limited to a small subgroup of the population," she said.
WHO Report Finds Link
In a landmark long-term study, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in October that long-term cell phone use is linked to a higher risk of developing brain cancer.
The WHO survey included 13,000 people in 13 countries. Among those who used cell phones for a decade or longer the researchers found a “significantly increased risk” of brain tumors.
In 1996, the WHO established the International Electromagnetic Fields Project to investigate the link between technologies emitting extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields and human health.
The fields exist wherever electric current flows from power lines and cables, residential wiring and electrical appliances. Much of the research examining long-term risks has focused on childhood leukemia. Evidence is difficult to gather and so far is not considered strong enough to be considered causal.
There were an estimated 49,000 new cases of childhood leukemia worldwide in the year 2000.
The $30 million study results will be officially published before the year’s end.
The head of the study, Elisabeth Cardis recommends that cell phone use by children should be restricted, she told the Telegraph, though not banned entirely because they are an important link between children and parents.
Cell Phones and Cancer Risk
Cellular telephones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy or radio waves which can heat body tissue.
There are two types of electromagnetic radiation - high-frequency (ionizing) and low-frequency (non-ionizing). Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation and when held next to the head and neck, it is uncertain at this time whether the radiation raises the risk of brain tumors.
This is of particular concern since there is an increasing use of cell phones. As of December 2008, there were more than 270 million subscribers to cell telephone services in the U.S.
What Consumers Can Do
Earlier this year, CNN talked to many physicists, engineers and doctors who agreed that cell phones do emit radiation. They recommend ways to limit any potential damage from cell phones near your head:
- USE THE SPEAKERPHONE - is the most repeated recommendation of experts. A foot or two is ideal for holding the cell phone away from your head and body. Radiation apparently reduces very quickly. Four inches away and it drops by a factor of 16.
- USE A FERRITE BEAD - if you’ve always been amused by those people who seem to be schizophrenic, walking and talking to themselves until you saw the little mouthpiece on their face, it turns out they may have been right. And a ferrite bead is a clip that you put on the wire of the headset to minimize the radiation coming from the wire toward your ear. The inexpensive bead absorbs the radiation. With the bead it’s hard to even measure the radiation coming off the wire. Following this reasoning, do not put the phone in your pocket or clipped to your belt or you will be radiating your body.
- BLUETOOTH - while the technology still emits radiation, it’s reported to be at least 100 times less than when you hold the phone to your head. But you are warned against wearing it when you are not talking because it still sends out a signal. Some people prefer Bluetooth to a wired headset, but the fact that you wear it all the time creates the problem. One alternative- switch it from ear to ear.
- HOLLOW TUBE EARPIECE - Similar to a wired earpiece except the last six inches or so is a hollow tube without the wire under the plastic. You are not receiving radiofrequency waves. Purchase these online.
- PHONE WITH LESS RADIATION - Are available and they are measures for their radiation output. Check for the specific absorption rate, or SAR. CNET.com has a listing. #