Scientists call for research into mobile phone brain cancers


CANCER IN CHILDREN ON THE RISE: The Children with Cancer conference will highlight figures just published by the Office of National Statistics, which show a 50 per cent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumours between 1999 and 2009.

  • Scientists at London conference call for independent research into potential links between using a mobile phone and brain cancer
  • Figures from ONS show 50 per cent increase in brain tumours since 1999
  • Studies ‘are split 50/50’ in conclusions, leaving the issue open for debate
  • But believers fear fall-out from the ‘biggest technological experiment in the history of our species’

Daily Mail | Apr 24, 2012

By Eddie Wrenn

A scientific conference starting in London today will urge governments across the world to support independent research into the possibility that using mobile phones encourages the growth of head cancers.

The Children with Cancer conference will highlight figures just published by the Office of National Statistics, which show a 50 per cent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumours between 1999 and 2009.

The ONS figures show that the incident rate has risen from two to three per 100,000 people since 1999, while figures from Bordeaux Segalen University show a one to two per cent annual increase in brain cancers in children.

Scientists and academics have long argued over the suggestion that radiation from mobile phones causes cancers. Those who believe there is a link say that – with five billion mobile phones being used worldwide – urgent research must be carried out to establish the risk.

But not everyone agrees. While governments, phone companies, and health agencies give precautionary advice about minimising mobile phone use, the Health Protection Agency is likely to conclude in a report due on Thursday that the only established risk when using a mobile is crashing a car due to being distracted by a call or text.

Professor Denis Henshaw, emeritus professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University, is opening the three-day conference in Westminster today.

He has previously advocated cigarette-style warnings on mobile phone packets and urges more independent research.

Professor Henshaw said: ‘Vast numbers of people are using mobile phones and they could be a time bomb of health problems – not just brain tumours, but also fertility, which would be a serious public health issue.

‘The health effects of smoking alcohol and air pollution are well known and well talked about, and it’s entirely reasonable we should be openly discussing the evidence for this, but it is not happening.

‘We want to close the door before the horse has bolted.’

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) rang alarm bells last year when it classified mobile phones as ‘possibly carginogenic’.

Professor Darius Leszczynski, of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, said: ‘For the first time a very prominent evaluation report states it so openly and clearly: RF-EMF [radio frequency electromagnetic field] is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) rang alarm bells last year when it classified mobile phones as ‘possibly carginogenic’.

Professor Darius Leszczynski, of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, said: ‘For the first time a very prominent evaluation report states it so openly and clearly: RF-EMF [radio frequency electromagnetic field] is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

CANCER IN CHILDREN ON THE RISE

Speaker Dr Annie Sasco, from the Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention unit at Bordeaux Segalen University, will highlight the one to two per cent annual increase in brain cancers in children.

She has concerns over the effect of radiation on children’s brains.

She said: ‘If the penetration of the electromagnetic waves goes for four centimetres into the brain, four centimetres into the adult brain is just the temporal lobe.

‘There are not too many important functions in the temporal lobe – but in a child the more central brain structures are going to be exposed.

‘In addition kids have a skull which is thinner, less protective, they have a higher content of water in the brain, so there are many reasons that they absorb more of the same radiation.’

Speaking to the Independent about the rise in brain cancer in children, she said: ‘It’s not age, it’s too fast to be genetic, and it isn’t all down to lifestyle, so what in the environment can it be?

”We now live in an electro-smog and people are exposed to wireless devices that we have shown in the lab to have a biological impact.

‘It is totally unethical that experimental studies are not being done very fast, in big numbers, by independently funded scientists.

‘The industry is just doing their job, I am more preoccupied with the so called independent scientists and institutions saying there is no problem.’

‘One has to remember that IARC monographs are considered as “gold standard” in evaluation of carcinogenicity of physical and chemical agents.

‘If IARC says it so clearly then there must be sufficient scientific reason for it, or IARC would not put its reputation behind such claim.’

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