Independent Study of Cell Phone - Brain Cancer Link Urgently NeededApr 30, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
A London conference on children and cancer has resulted in a call for more research into the possible connection between cell phones and brain tumors. According to a report from the U.K. Independent, conference attendees also called on governments adopt the ‘precautionary principle’ – advising phone users to take simple steps to protect themselves and their children from potential, not proven, long term health risks of electromagnetic fields.
Studies done to date are almost evenly split on the question of cell phones and brain cancer. But around three quarters of the studies that have found no health risks have been funded by the mobile phone industry. Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, told the Independent that the balance changes if funding sources are considered.
According to the Independent, researchers attending the Children with Cancer conference said new independent research urgently needs. Among other things, they cited recent findings from the Office of National Statistics that suggest a 50 per cent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumors between 1999 and 2009. Those areas of the brain are most susceptible to cell phone radiation.
The rate of frontal and temporal brain tumors has risen from two to three per 100,000 people in a decade, the Independent said.
“The public have a right to know this information," Denis Henshaw, Emeritus Professor of Human Radiation Effects at the University of Bristol, told the Independent. "We cannot and do not say there is a causal link between brain cancer and mobile phones, but we are right to consider them as one possible explanation for the increase and the public have the right to expect that this is properly investigated.”
Just last year, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing hundreds of human and animal studies. France has banned phones from primary schools and advertising targeted at children, and companies must provide headsets with every phone, according to the Independent. Israel recently became the latest of a very small, but growing number of governments to introduce legislation requiring all mobile phones and adverts to come with a health alert.
Despite assertions from the cell phone industry that the devices pose no health risks, the Independent points out that in small print, companies issue precautionary advice. For example, “use hands-free operation if available and keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98in (25mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers) when the BlackBerry is turned on and connected to the wireless network... reduce the amount of time spent on calls.”
The iPhone4 guide says: “…when using the iPhone near your body for voice calls or wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep it at least 5/8inch (15mm) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 5/8inch (15mm) separation between iPhone and the body.”