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Swedish Review Of Cell Phone Studies Finds No "Consistent
Evidence" Of Cancer Link
A review of cell phone studies commissioned by the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority has found no "consistent evidence" of an increased risk of cancer from usage, the agency said Wednesday.
Studies have differed on whether the use of mobile phones increases the risk of cancer as the handsets have become increasingly popular and efficient.
The governmental agency asked Dr. John D. Boice, Jr. and Dr. Joseph K. McLaughlin of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Maryland, to evaluate all published epidemiological research on the subject. The Swedish radiation agency also said the conclusions of Boice and McLaughlin do not necessarily represent its views.
The review included factors such as type of phone, duration and frequency of use and brain tumor location and found that more research was needed.
"No consistent evidence was observed for increased risk of brain cancer (or other forms)," the agency said in a news release.
The agency acknowledged public concern in the issue and said many studies were still being performed and continued follow-up was needed on any possible carcinogenic effect linked to mobile phone usage.
"You can never say that something is without risk, but at least we can say that there is no scientific evidence for a causal association between the use of cellular phones and cancer," said Lars-Erik Paulsson, a radiation expert with the agency.
The review singled out research by Swedish oncologist Lennart Hardell, which said that long-term users of old-fashioned analog cell phones were at least 30 percent more likely than nonusers to develop brain tumors.
Newer digital phones emit less radiation than older analog models of the sort studied.
Hardell has testified in connection with a dlrs 800 million lawsuit against Motorola Corp. and other major mobile-phone carriers that was brought by Christopher Newman, a Maryland doctor stricken with brain cancer.
Hardell, whose study was published recently in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, studied 1,617 patients with brain tumors and compared them with a similar-sized group of people without tumors. He could not immediately be reached for further comment.
The review said that Hardell's study and some U.S. research with similar findings was "non-informative, either because the follow-up was too short and numbers of cancers too small, or because of serious methodological limitations."
It contrasted those with three hospital-based case-control studies in the United States, a registry-based case-control study in Finland and a registry-based cohort study of over 400,000 cellular phone users in Denmark.
Those studies found "a consistent picture... that appears to rule out, with a reasonable degree of certainty, a causal association between cellular telephones and cancer to date," the agency said.