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WHO Cell Phone Study Reveals Possible Cancer Link

Oct 26, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Cellphone User

(WHO) will soon unveil the results of a groundbreaking, $30 million investigation into cell phone dangers

The World Health Organization (WHO) will soon unveil the results of a groundbreaking, $30 million investigation into cell phone dangers.  According to media  reports - the study known as the Interphone investigation- found evidence of a link between cell phones and brain cancer.

According to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, a preliminary analysis of the WHO study's data found a "significantly increased risk” of some brain tumors “related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more."  The Interphone project conducted studies in 13 countries, interviewing tumor sufferers and people in good health to see whether their use phone use differed. Interviews were conducted with 12,800 people between 2000 and 2004.

Six of eight Interphone studies found some rise in the risk of glioma (the most common brain tumor), with one finding a 39 per cent increase the Daily Telegraph said.  Two of seven studies into acoustic neurinoma (a benign tumor of a nerve between the ear and brain) reported a higher risk after using mobiles for 10 years. A Swedish report said it was 3.9 times higher.  An Israeli study found heavy users were about 50 per cent more likely to suffer tumors of the parotid salivary gland.

It depended on Subjects' Memories to Determine Frequency of Cell Phone Use

The Interphone authors did say the study was not definitive, and limited because it depended on subjects' memories to determine frequency of cell phone use.    But the study's head, Dr Elisabeth Cardis, said she backed new warnings for cell phones based on its findings.  "In the absence of definitive results and in the light of a number of studies which, though limited, suggest a possible effect of radiofrequency radiation, precautions are important,” she said.  Dr. Cardis said she would back the idea of restricting cell phone use among children, although she thought banning the devices entirely for kids was a bad idea.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the publication of the Interphone study, which was funded in part by the mobile phone industry, was delayed because its authors could not agree on how to present its conclusion.  But the final paper is expected to be published in medical journal before the end of the year.

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