British Study to Examine Cell phone Cancer Links


British Study to Examine Cell phone Cancer Links

January 22, 2007

Urban legend or legitimate concern? As long as there have been cell phones there has been persistent speculation that their extended use presents health problems.

Now, the British Government has ordered a massive study into their long-term health effects.

In the study, as many as 200,000 volunteers will be closely monitored for a five-year period. Their mobile phone use will be tracked, along with any serious health problems they might experience, such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

This is far from the first study on the subject. Last year a study of 420,000 Danish users ruled out a cell phone-cancer link, at least as far as short term use is concerned.

An international study in 2005 found no effect on brain tumors after ten years of use. However, it did not rule out negative effects of long-term use.

A 2004 study suggested that rural cell phone users might have an elevated cancer risk, due to the higher strength of signals used in sparsely populated areas.

The study coordinator told the Times of London the new study seeks to find answers to the question of extended cell phone use, saying there don’t appear to be problems in the short term, but that there is a “hint of something” from long-term use.

Of concern is the effect of prolonged exposure to radio transmissions generated by cell phones. The use in handsets held next to the head has raised red flags among some engineers, who say it can’t be healthy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last year it would begin a review of all available data on the health effects of cell phone use. The agency said it would evaluate research conducted to date in this area and identify gaps in knowledge that warrant additional research.

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