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Mobile Cancer Risk High
News Limited
Journalist: Kate Sikora
April 5, 2008

It is going to take strong, hard evidence to stop Generation Y from using their mobile phones - despite new research linking them to brain cancer.

A leading neurosurgeon has warning that mobiles pose more of a threat than smoking or asbestos.

But health experts yesterday urged people not to throw out their phones just yet, claiming there was still not enough evidence to link mobiles to an increase in brain tumours.

Dr Vini Khurana, a neurosurgeon at Canberra Hospital, conducted a 15-month review of the link between mobile phones and brain tumours.

In his paper, published on the website, Dr Khurana said using mobiles for more than 10 years could more than double the risk of brain cancer.

"The link between mobile phones and brain tumours should no longer be regarded as a myth," he said.

"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation."

He called for immediate government action to reduce people's exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by handsets.

People who use Bluetooth devices or unshielded headsets were also at greater risk, Dr Khurana warned.

"Wearing an ear-piece connected by a wire to a mobile phone in essence converts the user's head into an antenna," he said.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association has hit back at the claims, saying there was no evidence to suggest phones caused adverse health consequences.

Professor Bruce Armstrong from Sydney University said the jury was still out on whether frequent use of mobile phones caused tumours.

"I don't think you can confidently say that long-term, high-level use does not cause brain tumours," he said.

"Equally so, I don't think you can say it does. I personally am not worried about mobile phones."

Experts suggested people who are worried about using mobile phones should restrict their conversations.

Dr Andrew Penman, CEO of Cancer Council NSW, said people could also try using the handsfree function.

Paula Youhanna, 18, said she spent up to four hours a day on her phone.

"I am not worried. I don't think I would stop using the phone until there was something definitely proven," Ms Youhanna, of Blacktown said.

"I talk to my boyfriend up to two hours at a time on it."

Her friend Maja Nogic, 17, said her mother feared the phone's radiation.

"My mum makes me keep my phone outside my bedroom when I sleep," she said.

"I don't think people will just stop using them. You can't because we rely on them so much to communicate."

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