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Growing evidence for the link between mobile phones and cancer.

Friday, 27 May 2016 13:26


The first results of a long awaited and very important study, carried out by the US National Toxicology Programme (NTP) have just been made available, and the National Institutes for Health are planning to hold a briefing on the results.

An important study found an increased risk of glioma and of schwannoma of the heart in relation to exposure to mobile phone radio frequencies

The results are being released earlier than foreseen because the findings of even a small increased risk of tumours resulting from mobile phone radioqfrequencies could have important public health consequences because the widespread use of mobile communication technologies around the world.


It found an increased risk of glioma (one of the main types of brain cancer in adults) and ofschwannoma of the heart (schwannoma are tumours of nerve sheaths) in relation to exposure to mobile phone radio frequencies. The study has been very carefully designed to evaluate potential health effects of mobile phone radiofrequencies (RF).

These results are particularly interesting in the light of the results of the INTERPHONE international study, which I had the opportunity to coordinate"

These results are particularly interesting in the light of the results of the INTERPHONE international study (1–4), which I had the opportunity to coordinate. The study included over 2,700 cases of glioma and 1,100 cases of schwannoma of the acoustic nerve and found evidence of an association between mobile phone use (as well as level of radiofrequency exposure) and increased risk of developing both types of tumours. The results of INTERPHONE were an important basis for the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluation that radiofrequency radiations from hand-held telephones were possibly carcinogenic (2B).




Numbers of cases of tumours were relatively low in the recently published study, and the findings are reported as showing "low incidence" of glioma and schwannoma of the heart. There were, however, only 90 rats in each of the exposure groups in males and the same number of females, because of the enormous costs of these very controlled experiments. As brain tumours and schwannomas are rare tumours both in humans and in animals (the age-standardised incidence of brain tumours in Europe is of the order of 4-10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year), and because there are billions of mobile phone users in the world, these findings are very important  to help assess the potential health effects of the use of mobile communication technologies.

CREAL, an ISGlobal allied centre, continues to study the effects of this important source of exposure to the public in two large scale European projects in humans and animals: Mobi-Kids and GERoNiMO.

References

1. INTERPHONE Study Group, Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 39, 675–694 (2010)

2. INTERPHONE Study Group, Supplementary Material - Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 39 (2010), doi:10.1093/ije/dyq079

3. INTERPHONE Study Group, Acoustic neuroma risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol. 35, 453–464 (2011)

4. E. Cardis et al., Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries. Occup. Environ. Med. 68, 631–640 (2011)