Billion Risk Mobile Phone Cancer
New Media Age
Journalist: Bryan Porter
June 25, 2001
phone manufacturers could be responsible for generating more than half a
billion cancer cases worldwide in the near future, according to new
A team of Sydney researchers has published what they claim to be the first
scientific hypothesis about how mobile phone radiation causes cancer.
The report claims that the radiation generated by mobile handsets causes
ongoing stress to body cells, causing them to give off 'heat shock
proteins', which human cells sometimes release in response to injury or
Such a chronic activation of the heat shock response affects the normal
regulation of cells, which could result in cancer, the report said.
While this report has been authored by leading Australian medical academics,
and is supported by scores of luminaries in the profession, it has been
rejected by the country's telecoms industry.
Ross Managhan, CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
said, 'There is no substantiated scientific evidence that mobile phone
exposures within the limits set in strict international safety guidelines
cause the over-expression of heat shock proteins.'
To which the Australian researchers responsible for the study would almost
surely reply that there is not yet any established means of providing
On this point, medical academics have reached a standoff with the industry.
Yet this doesn't deny the highly plausible probability that many could
suffer cancer triggered by mobile phone usage. By ignoring these early
warnings, mobile phone manufacturers
could be setting themselves up for disastrously high legal claims in years
Presently, the medical research being conducted to investigate the harmful
effects of mobile phone radiation is being funded by special interest
groups, with nowhere near the type of funding available to the manufacturers
themselves. With this in mind, it's not surprising that researchers have not
been able to produce conclusive research.
At the very least, this new hypothesis should prompt manufacturers to
investigate the subject themselves. If not, this research could return to
bite them in the future as an unheeded warning.
With mobile phone development continuing apace, newer, faster, handsets are
being produced all the time, and in a couple of years we're all expecting
broadband connections through mobile handsets, yet there have been no
visible studies outlining the dangers of the intensified radiation levels
that will accompany these developments.
If manufacturers identify the risks now, and heed the warnings carried in
the Sydney report, capital invested in preventing and circumventing
radiation emissions could save much larger fortunes in the future.
Furthermore, on a short term scale it is in the interests of the industry to
be proactive. with consumers and the popular press concerned by mobile phone
health scares, stories such as this could fuel another backlash, just when
the mobile phone industry needs public support and enthusiasm.