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Swedish Study: Increased Cancer Risk From NMT Standard Mobile Phones
Helsingin Sanomat
August 21, 2002

A new Swedish study concludes that mobile telephones of the old NMT standard increase the risk of brain cancer. The NMT standard is being phased out in Finland by the end of this year. There was uncertainty over a possible cancer link with the GSM standard, which is the main standard for mobile telephony in Europe and many other places in the world.

The study found that the use of NMT phones increased the risk of brain cancer by 30%. The risk of cancer of the temporal lobe was 250% higher, and that of cancer of the auditory nerve was 350% higher among NMT users.

Although the overall risk of cancer remains fairly small, the researchers recommend the use of hands-free systems.     A total of 1617 people took part in the study at the Írebro University Hospital.

At the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, research professor Dariusz Leszczynski concedes that there is some reason for concern - if the figures presented in the study are true

"Even if the risk were to increase by only 30%, there are so many users of mobile telephones that the greater risk is a problem of some kind."    

Leszczynski would not speculate on the reliability of the assessment, as he has not yet read the paper. However, both the study, and the research team led by Lennart Hardell enjoy a worldwide reputation. A previous study by the team pointed to a connection between mobile telephones and brain cancer, and it was on the basis of that study that a class-action suit was filed against cellular phone manufacturers in the United States.

There has been much research into the possible health hazards of mobile telephones, and the results have often been contradictory. However, most of reports have suggested that mobile phones are safe.

Nevertheless, the reliability of the results is weakened by the fact that cell phones have not been an everyday household item for more than about ten years, which means that their real impact on brain tumours, which tend to develop very slowly, is difficult to assess.

In a study last spring, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found no indication that mobile phones had any bearing on the formation of brain tumours or the location of these tumours.

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