DECT Phones and Brain Tumors

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Irrelevant research

In July 2006, the findings of an epidemiological study on DECT phone use by Joachim Schuz et al was published in Radiation Research . This study found no evidence of a higher risk of brain tumours (Glioma and Meningioma) in a small number of exposed subjects that slept close to a DECT base station in the bedroom. (16) This study will no doubt be quoted by the DECT industry as proof that their phones are safe, but the concerns over DECT phones and possible health hazards have not been about the possibility of brain tumours, as examined in this article. Simply put: the researchers did not look at the relevant health issue. A far more useful investigation could have looked for sleep disruption and fatigue in the subjects sleeping next to a DECT phone.

As for a lack of statistical power, out of the total of 747 cases of Glioma and Meningioma combined in the Schuz study, only 10 people were identified who had definitely or possibly placed their DECT cordless phone base station by the bed.
In addition, brain tumors can take many years to develop, with evidence pointing to a 10-year latency. (17) The case could therefore be made that widespread DECT phone use has not gone on long enough to see any population trends in relation to brain tumour incidence. For example, in the Schuz et al study, out of 366 Glioma cases only two had used DECT for 5+ years (controls 732/6) and for the 381 Meningioma cases only four were in the 5+ year category (controls 762/7). (18)

Therefore the study’s conclusion that it is “a first indication that residential low-level exposure to RF EMFs may not pose a higher risk of brain tumors” is overstating the case.

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