Mobiles do not pose cancer risk

London, August 31:

A study in Britain on those using cellular phones for a decade found that there was no evidence of cancer risk in them. One billion people use mobiles worldwide, and there are concerns that children may be more at risk of cancer because their nervous systems are still developing and they will be exposed to radiation for longer during their lives.

Described as the largest study so far, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London collated data on adults from five countries — Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden — where mobile phones were introduced particularly early, reports The Guardian. They found no hard evidence at present that the health of the public is being adversely affected by the use of mobile phone technologies. Similarly, they found very little evidence of the effects on users aged under 16, although studies are planned. However, increased risk after 10 years could not be ruled out because the technology was still so new, the team said, suggesting that people under 16 keep their calls short and send text messages where possible.

The report quoted eight studies on the risk of acoustic neuroma and mobile phones, of which two suggested a significantly increased risk. One of the two concluded that this risk applied to relatively short-term users of analogue phones. There has been public concern about whether there is a link between brain cancer risk and the use of mobile phones. The risk of acoustic neuroma is of particular interest in this context because of the proximity of the acoustic nerve to the handset. Acoustic neuromas are slow-growing tumours that affect the nerve that connects the ear and inner ear to the brain. They can cause loss of hearing in the affected ear and loss of balance but do not spread to other parts of the body. The ‘risk effect’ was wiped out by the larger numbers of people examined by collating information from other countries. For the latest study, information was collected from 678 people.