Another new study has been published indicating that regular, concentrated use of mobile phones increases the risk of users developing malignant tumours.
The new research was conducted by scientists in Israel and its results are published in the latest edition (January 2008) of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
It seems that under some circumstances those routinely using mobile phones for more than 22 hours a month put themselves at a 50 per cent higher risk of developing a growth in the parotid gland. The parotid gland is the largest of the human salivary glands and is sited in the subcutaneous tissue of the face, just below the ear.
For those who habitually hold a mobile handset to the same ear, and for those living in rural areas where cell signal strength is higher than urban areas, the risk of developing a tumour rises to somewhere in the region of 70 per cent. The report says such subscribers subject themselves to "consistently elevated risks."
The research programme is led by an eminent oncologist, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, a specialist consultant on cancer and radiation at Israel's Chaim Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan. The research team examined 402 cases of benign tumours and 58 cases of malignant cancers of the parotid gland. All has been diagnosed in Israel between the years 2001 and 2003. All the cases were in Israeli adults over the age of 18, and all were heavy users of mobile telephony.
There has long been disagreement between different scientific camps as to whether or not prolonged exposure to RF from mobile handsets can cause tumours in humans and a wide variety academic studies have come to very different conclusions. Indeed, previous studies sponsored by the mobile phone industry itself have found absolutely no association between tumours and the use of mobile phones.
However, critics of these reports say they are partial and, as they cover periods of only two or three years, cannot and do not take into account the long-term effects of consistent RF exposure.
They say that studies based on less than ten years of exposure to cell phone radiation are misleading and claim that for in most cases it is, and will be, observed that tumours tend to develop after a decade of mobile phone usage.
Prior to the Ramat Gan research, there had been two detailed studies, one conducted in the UK and the other in Germany, that put forward convincing evidence to prove that there is a significantly increased risk of the incidence of glioma – a potentially fatal type of brain cancer – in people who habitually use mobile phones for more than 10 years.
The German study compared a group of 749 brain cancer patients who used mobile phones habitually with 1,494 similar individuals who did not them at all. It found that the that the risk of gliomas is double in those that use cell phones for ten years or more.
In the British study, researchers compared 996 brain tumour cases in people who were heavy mobile phone users with 1,716 healthy people who did not use cell phones. It found that the risk of brain cancer increases by 20 per cent in long-term users. In common with the new Israeli study, the British researchers found a signiicantly higher risk of tumours in and on the side of the head where mobile users most often position their handsets.
Another study, conducted in Sweden in 2004, found that frequent and prolonged mobile usage increases the risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous brain tumour.
So, what to make of the latest piece of research? Well, the majority of mobile phone radiation conducted to date have tended to be small-scale affairs, the results of which might not stand up to scrutiny in caomparison with bigger surveys conducted over longer periods.
However, small as most researches are, the results do tend to show a worrying correltation – a correlation bolstered by the results of the scientifically impeccable findings from the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre. These increasingly forceful (and frequent) straws in the wind must surely underline – and should surely provoke – the evident need for much more organised and co-ordinated research into the links between mobile phone use and the development of tumours.
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