Alarms are going off about the role mobile phones play in brain cancer since new evidence revealed rates of a malignant type of tumor have doubled in the last two decades. However, a new study published in the Journal of Public Health and Environment is causing controversy among scientists as some believe “the disease could be caused by other factors.”1
Because of this, charities and scientists have asked the government in the UK to take the warnings that have long existed about the dangers of radiation that comes from cell phone use, more seriously; “the increasing rate of tumours in the frontal temporal lobe ‘raises the suspicion that mobile and cordless phone use may be promoting gliomas’”. 2
Analyzing 79,241 malignant brain tumors over 21 years, the research team found that cases of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)- an aggressive and often fatal type of brain tumor- in England have increased from around 1,250 a year in 1995 to just under 3,000. (Caution and further investigation are never a bad idea. It’s better than just ignoring it and telling people to just slash and burn it.)
However, Kevin McConway, the Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University, isn’t so sure the upward trend is so clear-cut when you factor in radiation from X-rays, CT scans, and the fallout from atomic bomb tests in the atmosphere. Although he agrees more research is necessary as “Other studies in other parts of the world have found similar increases.”3
Currently, brain tumors kill more children in the UK than any other cancer so more research is incredibly important (even though a 2015 European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks concluded that epidemiologic studies on cell phone radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation exposure didn’t show an increased risk of brain tumors or of other cancers of the head and neck region and Cancer Research UK echoed those findings saying it was “unlikely” mobile phones increased the risk of brain tumors but that ultimately, cell phones were too new an invention to be able to really tell and many more years of data would be necessary to be sufficiently sure and “make more robust conclusions.”4)
How do you feel about cell phones? Do you take certain precautions when using them?