HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Cell Phone Studies - Time to Stop Talking

The UK Independent reports on the results of several new studies on long-term cell phone use - the headline says that they could be more dangerous than smoking.   The  newspaper reports, 


Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by   an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid   using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone   industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their   radiation. The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet   published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October –   that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain   cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official   safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any,   people who had used the phones for that long.

Earlier this year, the French government warned against the use of mobile   phones, especially by children. Germany also advises its people to minimise   handset use, and the European Environment Agency has called for exposures to   be reduced.

Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the   past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers –   reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put   the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is   currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

He admits that mobiles can save lives in emergencies, but concludes that "there   is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile   phone usage and certain brain tumours". He believes this will be "definitively   proven" in the next decade.

Noting that malignant brain tumours represent "a life-ending diagnosis",   he adds: "We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and   dangerous situation." He fears that "unless the industry and   governments take immediate and decisive steps", the incidence of   malignant brain tumours and associated death rate will be observed to rise   globally within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to   intervene medically. . . . 

Late last week, the Mobile Operators Association dismissed Khurana's study as "a   selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual". It   believes he "does not present a balanced analysis" of the   published science, and "reaches opposite conclusions to the WHO and   more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews".

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