Cancer researchers in Sweden found strong links between
malignant brain tumors and using cordless phones, which are
comparable to those for using mobile phones.
The cancer research team led by Lennart Hardell at the
University of Orebro showed that people who have used mobile
phones or cordless phones for more than 2 000 h are all at
greatly increased risks of getting malignant brain tumours.
The odds of getting malignant brain tumours compared with
those who have never used these phones - expressed as odds
ratio, OR – was 5.9 times for analogue mobile phones (older
type of mobile phones), 3.7 tines for digital mobile phones
and 2.3 times for cordless phones. (OR of 1 indicates no
increased risk compared to non-users; OR<1 indicates
decreased risk; and OR>1 indicates increased risk.)
For all malignant brain tumours in people who have used the
phones for more than ten years, the ORs were 3.0 and 2.8 for
analogue and digital mobile phones respectively, and 3.3 for
cordless phones. For high-grade astrocytomas (malignant
tumour of the astrocyte, a glial cell), the corresponding
ORs increased further to 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9 respectively.
The risk of malignant brain tumours is increased for any
phone use, regardless of how many years or hours of use. The
ORs for analogue and digital mobile phones were 1.5 and 1.3
respectively, and for cordless phone, 1.3. When considering
malignant tumours on the same side of the head the phone is
used, the ORs rose to 2.1, 1.8, and 1.7 respectively for
malignant tumours, and to 2.4, 2.3 and 2.0 respectively for
high-grade astrocytomas. This is yet another indication that
the tumours are associated with exposure.
These latest results were obtained by analysing the pooled
data from two case control studies that yielded similar
findings earlier. Pooling the data gave more cases and hence
more reliable results. Altogether, there were 905 cases of
malignant brain tumours, and 2 162 controls subjects matched
for age and sex, and living in the same area of Sweden.
The Swedish researchers are the first team to have studied
cordless phones, which depend on the same wireless
technology and microwave telecommunication as mobile phones.
Although cordless phone were first introduced in 1980, it
did not become widely available in Sweden until the digital
system was introduced in the early 1990s, and in the United
States in 2000 . So, while mobile phones and transmitters
were grabbing the headlines (see Box), cordless phones have
been silently invading our homes and workplaces.
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