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Cell Phone Use Doubles Risk Of Rare Cancers

By Jim Scanlon

    Two relatively small public health studies, one in Sweden, the other in Denmark report the first clear evidence that mobile telephone use increases the risk of a benign (non invasive) head tumor.
   The tumor, acoustic neuroma, grows on the nerve ending connecting the ear to the brain and normally the occurrence is 1 in 100,000. Use of cell telephones for 10 years or more doubles the risk. If that same rate applied to California, the incidence of acoustic neuroma for long term cell phone users would jump from approximately 350 per year to 700, and 2,800 per year to 5,600 for the US.
   The Swedish study involved 148 acoustic neuroma patients, 14 of whom had regularly used mobile phones for more than 10 years.
   A somewhat smaller Danish study of 106 patients found no link between cell phone use and the tumors although the average sized of the tumors was larger for regular users than non users.
   The two Scandinavian countries are part of the INTERPHONE study, which involves 13 European countries and is coordinated by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer based in Lyon France. The organization was set up in 1998 to investigate the health effects of exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phones.
   Studies are nearing completion in all 13 countries and final results are expected in early 2005. Five of the countries are planning larger studies involving 50,000 each, 250,000 total, to confirm any effects that    INTERPHONE finds.
(Information from Nature Online 14 October 2004)


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