Brain cancer link to ordinary mobile phone use debunked after more than 20 years of speculation and fear

Common mobile phone its use does not cause brain tumors, according to a study of hundreds of thousands of people that may finally put the matter to rest after more than two decades of speculation and fear.

Researchers have gone further than ever since the concern was first raised in the 1990s, stating that for the vast majority of people, mobile phones are not a problem. cancer risk.

means the World Health Organization The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which had previously declared the use of mobile phones as “possibly carcinogenic”, has now concluded that the devices are safe for the average user.

It also says there’s no evidence that heavy users — those who make calls with the phone pressed against their head for about seven to 10 hours a week or more — are at risk. However, he still can’t rule out the possibility.

The data comes from a landmark British study made up entirely of female participants.

“For normal use, I think we have strong and convincing evidence that mobile phone use does not cause problems, while for the smaller group of people with very heavy use, we would give some precautionary advice. But overall, we have the situation pretty much under control,” said IARC lead researcher Joachim Schüz. i.

“This is an important study that builds on previous research. The longer you watch people, the more robust the data becomes. Each new study is a piece of the puzzle.”

Dr. Schüz stopped short of giving the go-ahead for heavy mobile device use because the study only looked at women, whereas very heavy users tend to be men. As such, the sample size was too small to draw definitive conclusions about heavy use.

There is no evidence to suggest that heavy users are at risk, but the researchers nonetheless advised them to adopt the precautionary principle and use the speakerphone or headphones when possible to minimize the contact their device has with their head.

The researchers used data from the Million Women Study: a large ongoing research project that has recruited one in four UK women born between 1935 and 1950.

Some 776,000 participants completed questionnaires about their mobile phone use in 2001, and about half of these were questioned again in 2011. Participants were then followed for an average of 14 years by linking them to their mobile phone records. NHS.

“These results support accumulating evidence that normal mobile phone use does not increase the risk of brain tumours,” said Kirstin Pirie of the University of Oxford Department of Population Health, who also worked on the study.

Since mobile phones are placed close to the head, the radiofrequency waves they emit penetrate several centimeters into the brain, with the temporal and parietal lobes being the most exposed. This has raised concerns that mobile device users may be at increased risk of developing brain tumors.

Previously, the IARC had classified radiofrequency waves as “possibly carcinogenic,” based on past concerns and in the absence of much science on the subject.

Fears were reignited more recently with the launch of 5G technologies.

Evidence from the latest study discredits these theories.

Karis Betts, Cancer Research UK health information manager, said: “It is a persistent myth that mobile phones or the signals they emit cause cancer. The results of this large study provide more evidence to say that it is just that: a myth.”

Professor Malcolm Sperrin, from Oxford University Hospitals, said: “This Oxford study is a welcome addition to the body of knowledge looking at the risk of mobile phones. There is always a need for more research, especially as phones, wireless, etc. they become ubiquitous, but this study should allay many existing concerns.”

Dr Michael Jones, Senior Scientist in Genetics and Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “This study supports accumulating evidence that normal mobile phone use does not increase the risk of brain cancer.”

Dr. Schüz noted that mobile phone technologies were improving all the time, so the newer generations use much less power than before, reducing any risk there may be for heavy phone users.

The study is published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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