Neurosurgeon: Mobile phones 'worse than smoking'

Summary:Growing evidence exists of a link between excessive long-term use of mobiles and certain types of brain tumours, claims neurosurgeon mobile-related electromagnetic radiation and to ensure they are aware of the potential dangers.

Writing in the report, he says: "The author fears that unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps to openly acknowledge and intervene in this situation, even while waiting definitive confirmation by large and well-constructed multi-centre studies worldwide, malignant brain tumour incidence and its associated death rate will be observed globally to rise within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to meaningfully intervene, especially for those who are currently children and young adults."

Khurana recommends adult members of the public should seek to minimise their use of mobile phones, using a landline instead wherever possible and/or favouring the speakerphone function on a mobile so the phone is held more than 20cm away from the head. Mobile users should also minimise use of Bluetooth devices and unshielded headphone accessories, he added.

A 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) report on mobile phone use and health backs up Khurana's view of the difficulties of establishing a link between mobiles and cancer without studying long-term exposure — and also advises a cautionary approach to the technology.

The WHO report states: "For the majority of tumours studied so far, a long latency period might exist, and the finding of any link to the use of mobile phones is complex. Consequently, most of the published research cannot elucidate the risk of long-term effects… Since there are still gaps in knowledge, continued research and better health risk analyses are needed. Moreover, without scientifically recognised adverse effects on health, it is not possible to produce evidence-based recommendations."

Back in 2004, a study by a Swedish research institute also suggested that 10 or more years of mobile-phone use may increase the risk of acoustic neuroma in humans.

Khurana's report reviewing the evidence for and against mobile-phone use and increased cancer risk can be read on the site in full.

Topics: Networking

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