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Mobiles don't cause cancer, experts claim

Mobile phones do not cause cancer, according to the latest scientific evidence.

An independent panel has found "no convincing evidence of a link" between the technology and brain tumours.

But the panel, from a leading cancer research centre, admitted the possibility of small or long-term repercussions could not be ruled out.

Their conclusions follow a wide-ranging study -- the largest of its kind to date -- which claimed that radiation associated with mobile handsets potentially increases the risk of glioma, a malignant form of the disease.

While the panel accepted the Interphone study findings were "comprehensive", they identified some problems with the study's design which made it difficult to draw definite conclusions.

The results, in conjunction with those revealed by a series of similar studies, showed no increases in brain tumours up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones, and a decade after their use became widespread.



ANimals

Extensive research also failed to establish any biological explanation for how handsets could possibly cause cancer in humans while animals exposed to radiation appeared unaffected, they said.

However the group, led by Professor Anthony Swerdlow from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, said uncertainty was bound to remain for years because research could not prove the complete absence of harmful side-effects.

Examination of cancer rates during the next few years is expected to clarify the situation.

"If there are no apparent effects on trends in the next few years, after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it will become increasingly implausible that there is a material causal effect," Professor Swerdlow said.

"Conversely, if there are unexplained rising trends, there will be a case to answer."

David Coggon, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Southampton, said the review was "carefully considered" and its conclusions "justified".

hnews@herald.ie


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