Most tumors not within cell phone radiation range

NEW YORK Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:31pm EDT

A technician examines a mobile phone in a test room at the Market Surveilance Laboratories of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey, in Ankara June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A technician examines a mobile phone in a test room at the Market Surveilance Laboratories of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey, in Ankara June 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Brain tumors among cell phone users are not clustered within range of most of the radiation emitted from the devices, a new report finds - suggesting that mobile phones do not cause cancer.

Moreover, people who had used mobile phones for the longest amount of time, and spent the most time on the phones, were no more likely to experience tumors located within 5 centimeters of the phone, where "90 percent of the radiation" is emitted, study author Dr. Suvi Larjavaara from the University of Tampere in Finland told Reuters Health.

These findings appeared as the World Health Organization announced that, upon review of available scientific evidence, cell phones should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic."

Although the results of the Finnish study may be reassuring, they are certainly not conclusive, Larjavaara cautioned. Cancer can take a long time to develop, and only 5 percent of the people included in the study had been using mobile phones for at least 10 years, the authors note in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Larjavaara acknowledged that these latest findings contradict the WHO's latest announcement, which placed cell phone use in the same cancer risk category as coffee and chloroform. The WHO had previously said there was no established evidence for a link between cell phone use and cancer.

"Our evidence does not support the connection, but obviously a majority does," she told Reuters Health by email.

Overall, the evidence remains conflicted: Last year, a study including 13,000 cell phone users over 10 years found no clear answer on whether the mobile devices cause brain tumors. Another study from last February suggested that using a mobile phone can change brain cell activity.

Use of mobile phones has increased hugely since their introduction in the early- to mid-1980s. About 5 billion mobile phones are currently in use worldwide.

One issue that arises when studying the risks of cell phone use is that people often don't recall how much time they spend on the phone. To approach the question more scientifically, Larjavaara and colleagues looked at the location of tumors, reasoning that an excess of tumors close to the phones would implicate the devices.

Ninety percent of the radiation released from phones is absorbed by the brain tissue located within 5 centimeters of the handset. So in 888 brain tumors diagnosed between 2000 and 2004, the researchers mapped the exact location of the tumor within the brain, relative to where people would place a cell phone while talking.

This study was one of the papers included in the WHO's recent analysis of cancer risk from cell phone use, along with two others by Dr. Elisabeth Cardis at the CREAL-Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, who reviewed the latest findings for Reuters Health. That analysis is scheduled to be released on July 1.

Cardis said that she and her team have also looked at tumor location in cell phone users, but instead developed a formula to calculate the amount of energy present at the actual tumor, factoring in the characteristics of the phone and network, among other variables.

In this analysis, they found that tumors in long-term cell phone users did occur more often in locations with higher exposure from cell phones, Cardis said.

The current study considered the entire phone as a source of exposure, since many phones have an integrated antenna, and therefore measured the distance of tumors from any point on the phone.

This definition of exposure "is overly simplistic, in my opinion," Cardis said in an email, because previous studies have found that the most exposed area is generally located around the ear.

"I expect there is substantial misclassification of exposure in the analyses published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and hence it is not possible to draw conclusions about the presence or absence of a risk," she concluded.

SOURCE: bit.ly/iE0l3x American Journal of Epidemiology, online May 24, 2011.

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Comments (5)
anonymot wrote:
What kind of Looney Tunes logic does this researcher follow? No one has suggested that cell phones cause ALL tumors or a MAJORITY of tumors or CLUSTERED tumors. It has only been indicated that cell phones can cause tumors. It hesn’t been indicated by better researchers that cell phone intense usage – which is not very many years old – can cause tumors. So who does this lulu in Finland work for? The cell phone company? Nokia? And doesn’t Reuters use any discretion in what you put out?

Jun 15, 2011 5:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sure.

Jun 15, 2011 6:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AreebahAlbert wrote:
I don’t know which research is authentic. Recent studies confirm that cell and cordless phone microwave can damage nerves in the scalp, it causes the blood cells to leak hemoglobin, memory loss and confusion, headaches and induce extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle spasms and tremors, burning sensation and rash on the skin, Changing the brain’s electrical activity during sleep, Induce ringing! in the ears, impair sense of smell, Cataract precipitate, the damage and cancer of the retina of the eye, Open the blood-brain barrier to viruses and toxins and Reduce the number and efficiency of WBC. It can Stimulate asthma by producing histamine in mast cells, it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and raise the bad cholesterol, Stress the endocrine system, especially pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, testes.

Jun 16, 2011 9:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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