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Mobiles 'don't increase brain tumour risk'

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18:08 CEST+02:00
There is no increased risk of brain tumours in people who have used a mobile phone regularly for 10 years, according to an international study including researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet.

The Interphone study is the largest-ever international research conducted on a possible link between brain cancer and other tumors in the head and mobile use.

A total of 2,708 people with glioma-type brain tumours and 2,409 people with meningioma-type brain tumours in the study were compared with normal subjects. Overall, the study showed no increased risk of brain tumours among those who regularly used mobiles for 10 years.

"Had there been a greater risk after more than 10 years of mobile phone usage, we should have seen it in Interphone," Maria Feychting, professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet and head of the Swedish portion of the Interphone study, said in a statement "The results are consistent with available experimental research that has failed to demonstrate any carcinogenic effect from the type of radiation cell phones emit. They also correspond with previous epidemiological research."

She added, "Uncertainties about the maximum exposure levels must be investigated in further research, although they speak for weaknesses in the study rather than an actual increase in risk."

The study was coordinated by the World Health Organisation's cancer research agency International Agency for Research on Cancer and conducted by 16 research centres in 13 countries, including the Karolinska Institutet. The findings will be published in the scientific journal International Journal of Epidemiology on Tuesday. Subsequent results are also expected on salivary gland and auditory nerve tumours.

To date, the overall funding assigned to the Interphone study amounts to about €19.2 million ($24.38 million). Of this amount, €5.5 million were contributed by industry sources, of which €3.5 million were contributed by the Mobile Manufacturers' Forum and the GSM Association, each contributing half of that amount through a firewall mechanism provided by the International Union Against Cancer to guarantee the independence of the scientists.

Most of the rest of the €5.5 million came indirectly to individual centres from mobile phone operators and manufacturers through taxes and fees collected by government agencies. Only €500,000 (2.5%) of the overall study costs were provided directly by the industry, in Canada and France, under contracts which preserved the independence of the study.

Other funding was provided by the European Commission (€3.74 million) and national and local funding sources (€9.9 million in total) in participating countries. Additional funding for the extension of the research to younger and older age groups was received directly from mobile phone operators in the UK under contracts which preserved the independence of the study.

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