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Is your mobile phone killing you?

Enrico Grani was a little under 40 when he collapsed at home in Adelaide. He assumed he was having a stroke. Two weeks later doctors found a massive tumour in his brain. Enrico is convinced it was caused by mobile phone use.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

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Enrico Grani was a little under 40 when he collapsed at home in Adelaide. He assumed he was having a stroke. Two weeks later doctors found a massive tumour in his brain. Enrico is convinced it was caused by mobile phone use.

Today he lives off a disability pension, suffers pain and is dosed up on medication to prevent convulsions. He is electrosensitive, which means he can't go near anyone with a 3G phone. Enrico has agreed to appear on this week's Twisted Wire because he wants to warn others of the dangers of mobile phone use. Visit his website www.stop-radiation.com for more on his story.

The official position of the mobile industry, through its peak body the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), is that there isn't a risk. Its website says that "over the past 20 years, more than 30 authoritative expert scientific reviews have evaluated the evidence on the potential health and biological effects of radio frequency fields and have consistently concluded that there are no public health risks". I ask Chris Althaus, CEO of AMTA, if this definitive stance is the right one to take if there is any element of risk from mobile phone use.

One recent piece of research supporting AMTA's stance comes from Denmark. We'll hear from Isabelle Deltour, one of the scientists from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen who has studied brain tumor incidence rates for the thirty years up to 2003. The institute found no link between tumors and mobile phone use in its research.

Other scientists question whether there has been enough of a time lag in any research to have meaningful results. That's the view of Olle Johansson, an associate professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. He has been studying the effects of electromagnetic fields on humans since the 1970's and in today's program he asks whether the risk of cancer is the least of our worries when it comes to the detrimental effects of mobile phone use.

I also talk to Lloyd Morgan, a retired electronics engineer, who recently compiled a paper "Cellphones and Brain Tumors — 15 Reasons for Concern" (PDF). He questions the Interphone study, the largest analysis of mobile phone use which, he claims, is subject to a number of design flaws. One of the biggest problems with the Interphone study so far, however, has been its inability to deliver. The results were supposed to be published in 2005, and we're still waiting.

We'll continue the discussion next week looking beyond tumours to broader concerns on mobile phone exposure. In the meantime tell us what you think? If research is non-conclusive is the industry adopting the right stance, or should we ask consumers to modify their behaviour? Make a comment below or leave voicemail feedback (call 02 8006 1257) to be included in next week's edition.

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