Usage of mobile phones does not result in an increased risk of brain cancer, according to the largest study ever into the issue. Scientists in Denmark investigated data on more than 358,000 mobile users over 18 years, and found no link between long-term use of mobile phones and tumours of the brain or central nervous system.
Researchers, led by the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, studied Danes aged between 30 and 82 by gathering information on mobile subscribers from the Danish network operators and from the Danish Cancer Register.
They analysed data of 10,729 central nervous system tumours between 1990 and 2007, and when the figures were restricted to those with the longest use of mobile phones – 13 years or more – the cancer rates were almost the same as those among non-subscribers, according to the results, which were posted on the British Medical Journal’s website.
There have been fears that cancer could be triggered by the brain’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile handsets. The authors said: “The extended follow-up allowed us to investigate effects in people who had used mobile phones for ten years or more, and this long-term use was not associated with higher risks of cancer.”
But they added that further research was needed to rule out the possibility that heavier and longer use of mobile phones could increase the risk.
At the end of May, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer decided cellphone use should be classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. However, just over a month later the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s committee on epidemiology said that scientific evidence increasingly pointed away from a link between mobile phone use and brain tumours.
The results correspond with other studies such as that carried out by Manchester University researchers in February, which found no statistically significant change in rates of newly diagnosed brain cancers in England between 1998 and 2007, saying it was unlikely “we are at the forefront of a brain cancer epidemic”.