Cellular telephones and cancer

:: Cellular telephones and cancer

The use of cellular phones and possible adverse health effects related to their use, attract much attention. Reports of brain tumour excesses occurring among phone users, case stories in the press and reports on thermal as well as magnetic effects on exposed tissue hypothesised to stimulate tumour growth, combined with the explosion in subscribers to cellular phones, raise public concern. The radiation from the cellular phones is characterised as non-ionising, alongside radar, microwave ovens and electrical wiring configuration. The radio frequency signals emitted from the devices range between 450 and 2200 MHz, i.e. in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. A comprehensive review of the epidemiological literature was recently carried out by Boice and McLaughlin [15] and published by the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority. They conclude, after a review of nine major studies (two cohort studies on cancer, three hospital based case–control studies, one incidence population based case–control study and two prevalence based case– control studies), that no significant association is present for brain tumours and use of cellular phones, irrespective of duration of use, type of phone (digital or analogue), tumour morphology or laterality. The follow-up, however, is short, and even if relative risks are unlikely to exceed 1.3 it is important to monitor this exposure to exclude the possibility of any long-term effects. On the other hand, no biological mechanism supports a causal relation and there is no evidence of adverse effects on laboratory animals.