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Study Highlights Tumour Risk Of Mobile Phones
September 05, 2001

People who have used a mobile phone for two hours a day for ten years have a greatly increased risk of developing a brain tumour, a Swedish study has found.

They research, carried out by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at Orebro University in Sweden, compared 1,617 people who had survived brain tumours with an equal number of healthy people.

He found that those who had used mobile phones for five years or more were 26 per cent more likely to develop a brain tumour than those who had not.

The figure rose to 77 per cent for people who had been using a mobile phone for ten years or more.

It was found that the tumours were 2 times more likely to be on the same side of the head as the phone was held.

The findings will fuel the argument over the use of mobile phones by children. Sir William Stewart, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government and this year’s President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, called for mobile phones to be made more expensive to guard against any possible danger to children’s health.

Sir William led an investigation into mobile phone safety which concluded that while there was no evidence of danger to health, it would be prudent to discourage those under 16 from using mobile phones excessively.

Speaking at the festival yesterday, Sir William said that the radio-frequency signals emitted by the phones generated heat in the brain, but it was not clear whether this also had biological effects, such as triggering cancer.

He said that mobile phone advertisements directed at children were irresponsible because children’s skulls are not fully developed.

“Children will be using mobile phones for longer, and their effect won’t be known for some time to come,” Sir William said.

“Mobile phone technology has been led by the physical sciences. My own view is we ought to be doing more work on the potential biological effects.”

Sir William said that there were about 40 million mobile phones in use in Britain. A survey by the watchdog Powerwatch found that 85 per cent of children aged between 10 and 15 in Britain have mobile phones.

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