Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 4

Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer, Cell Phone Radiation Protection

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IARC in 2000 launched a study called Interphone, funded by the European Union, the International Union against Cancer and other national and local funding bodies. Interphone compared surveyed cell phone use in 6,420 people with brain tumors to that of 7,658 healthy people in 13 developed countries—Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.—to try to determine whether people with brain tumors had used their cell phones more than healthy people, an association that might suggest that cell phones caused the tumors.

The results are expected by the end of this year. “The interpretation of the results is not simple because of a number of potential biases which can affect the results,” says project leader Elisabeth Cardis, a professor at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park. “These analyses are complex and have, unfortunately, taken much time.” Among factors that might skew the results: failure of participants—especially those with tumors—to accurately recall exactly how long and often they talk on their cell phones.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average time between first exposure to a cancer-causing agent and clinical recognition of the disease is 15 to 20 years or longer—and cell phone use in the U.S. has only been popular for about a decade. (In 1996 there were 34 million U.S. cell phone users compared with more than 200 million today, according to CTIA–The Wireless Association, a Washington, D.C.–based cell phone industry group.)

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Can Cell Phones Can Cause Brain Cancer Part 3

Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer, Cell Phone Radiation Protection

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Recent research suggests, however, that although short-term exposure is harmless, long-term cell phone use may be a different story. Three studies since 1999 indicate that people who have used cell phones for more than a decade may have as much as three times greater risk of developing brain tumors on the side of the head against which they most often hold their phone—an argument for, at the least, shifting ears regularly or, even better, using an earpiece or the speakerphone feature while chatting.

“For people who’ve used their cell phones for more than 10 years and who use their phone on the same side as the tumor, it appears there’s an association,” Lawrie Challis, emeritus physics professor at the University of Nottingham in England and former chairman of the U.K.’s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research program, told ScientificAmerican.com during a recent interview.

Worldwide, one in 29,000 men and one in 38,000 women on average develop brain tumors each year, with people in industrial nations twice as likely as those in developing countries to be diagnosed with one, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. If cell phone use does, in fact, triple the odds of getting cancer, these stats would suggest that over 60 years a man’s risk of developing a brain tumor from cell phone use increases from 0.206 percent to 0.621 percent, and a woman’s from 0.156 percent to 0.468 percent.

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