Mobile phones: 'Still no evidence of harm to health'

 
Woman using mobile phone There are 80 million mobile phones in the UK

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There is still no evidence mobile phones harm human health, says a major safety review for the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Scientists looked at hundreds of studies of mobile exposure and found no conclusive links to cancer risk, brain function or infertility.

However, they said monitoring should continue because little was known about long-term effects.

The HPA said children should still avoid excessive use of mobiles.

It is the biggest ever review of the evidence surrounding the safety of mobile phones.

There are now an estimated 80 million mobiles in the UK, and because of TV and radio broadcasting, Wi-Fi, and other technological developments, the study said exposure to low-level radio frequency fields was almost universal and continuous.

A group of experts working for the HPA looked at all significant research into the effects of low-level radio frequency.

'Relatively reassuring'

They concluded that people who were not exposed above UK guideline levels did not experience any detectable symptoms.

That included people who reported being sensitive to radio frequency.

They also said there was no evidence that exposure caused brain tumours, other types of cancer, or harm to fertility or cardiovascular health.

But they said very little was known about risks beyond 15 years, because most people did not use mobile phones until the late 1990s.

Prof Anthony Swerdlow, who chaired the review group, said it was important to continue monitoring research.

"Even though it's relatively reassuring, I also think it's important that we keep an eye on the rates of brain tumours and other cancers," he said.

"One can't know what the long-term consequences are of something that has been around for only a short period."

There has been speculation about the health effects of using mobile phones for years.

The HPA conducted a previous review in 2003, which also concluded that there was no evidence of harm. But there is now far more research into the subject.

Advice on children

The experts said more work was needed on the effect of radio frequency fields on brain activity, and on the possible association with behavioural problems in children.

They also called for more investigation into the effects of new technology which emits radio frequency, such as smart meters in homes and airport security scanners.

The HPA said it was not changing its advice about mobile phone use by children.

"As this is a relatively new technology, the HPA will continue to advise a precautionary approach," said Dr John Cooper, director of the HPA's centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards.

"The HPA recommends that excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 383.

    380. Jon

    Joules are a measure of energy and is the amount of power delivered in a time. So saying Joules per second is incorrect.

    1 Joule = 1 Watt per second.


    What is being investigated in mobile phones is if there is any genetic damage occurring from using them, as it is genetic damage which can result in cancer. Heating slightly does not cause cancer.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 382.

    @381 Maxone

    ...However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out.'*
    *
    "There is no consistent biological evidence that exposure to RF fields is implicated in the development of tumours nor has a potential aetiological mechanism been demonstrated. Overall, there is no convincing epidemiological evidence.."

    Same article, less biased editing!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 381.

    @372laughingman

    'Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma:

    'The study suggests that there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first decade after starting mobile phone use. However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out.'*

    Source: British Journal of Cancer

    http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v93/n7/full/6602764a.html

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 380.

    Every second of mobile phone use puts roughly 0.5 Joules of energy into your brain, on the other hand every second your body is putting 20 Joules of energy into your head every second.

    The amount of energy that a phone provides (even if used 24/7) is so small that it is highly unlikely to have any adverse effects.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 379.

    This is over on the "Science and Environment" section:

    "Green energy 'cheap within years', says 'passionate' PM"
    By Richard Black
    Environment correspondent, BBC News
    .
    Dear BBC, may we comment please?

  • Comment number 378.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 377.

    cell phones have become such a necessity to everyday life and operations that I think we'll be using it even if there are after-effects. I personally don't think there are any major effects from cell phones and there will be even less of them s technology evolves. I think we're fine :)

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 376.

    'In 2000, Dr. Gerard Hyland, a physicist from the U.K. published an article in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet, titled, “Physics and biology of mobile telephony.” Dr. Hyland’s paper is an excellent summary of why we should be concerned about cell phone use (& cell phone towers), and where research should be pointed. Some of the research has been done since then, but much has not.'

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 375.

    Just in:

    Research has found that stupid people's brains are more affected by mobile phone radiation than clever people's brains.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 374.

    That is inless they are being used at the wrong time or in the wrong place, when they can be instrumental in fatalities.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 373.

    What is far more dangerous than mobile phone usage, is misinformation.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 372.

    @370 Maxone

    Mobile phone long term use can cause acoustic neuroma which can cause Hydrocephalus in humans.
    *
    There simply is no proven reproducible scientific evidence for that assertion.

    "The cause of most acoustic neuromas is unknown. There are no risk factors for developing an acoustic neuroma. It is thought that a fault in a gene that helps stop tumours growing may be responsible.." NHS.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 371.

    In my env health days, a complainant swore that radiation from a mobile phone mast was causing holes to appear in his underpants. He wouldn't be told that this was highly unlikely, and even took to stuffing aluminium foil down them as a precaution.

    Finding out subsequently that his estranged wife who he still lived with had apparently been poking holes in them with a pin raised a wry smile...

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 370.

    Mobile phone long term use can cause acoustic neuroma which can cause Hydrocephalus in humans:

    'Hydrocephalus can be treated by draining away the excess CSF. It is important that this condition is treated quickly because in severe cases it can cause brain damage. In rare instances, it can be fatal.'*

    *Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Acoustic-neuroma/Pages/Complications.aspx

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 369.

    @368 Maxone

    'Karolinska Institute conducted an epidemiological study(2004) that suggested that regular use of a mobile phone over a decade or more was associated with an increased risk of acoustic neuroma' wikip
    *
    http://oem.bmj.com/content/63/12/802

    LOL, This is like playing 'Top Trumps'.

    Despite what it's many advocates believe, Wikipedia is not always objective & certainly not infallible!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 368.

    'One of the most serious complications of acoustic neuroma is a condition known as hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus occurs when an acoustic neuroma is very large and presses on your brainstem'*
    *NHS

    'Karolinska Institute conducted an epidemiological study(2004) that suggested that regular use of a mobile phone over a decade or more was associated with an increased risk of acoustic neuroma' wikip

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 367.

    @364 deafguy1

    Unfortunately the research did not include all the people that have since developed acoustic neuroma's (benign cancer). Whilst the neuroma cannot kill, the resultant damage to the brain, if undetected, will. Evidence is there..
    *
    Sorry, there isn't any evidence of that & they don't cause fatal brain damage either

    http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Acoustic-neuroma/Pages/Introduction.aspx

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 366.

    'Other studies on cancer and mobile phones are: 'A Swedish scientific team at the Karolinska Institute conducted an epidemiological study (2004) that suggested that regular use of a mobile phone over a decade or more was associated with an increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a type of benign brain tumor. The increase was not noted in those who had used phones for fewer than 10 years.'*

    *wikipedia

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 365.

    359.waofy - "...... The same goes for people living next to mobile phone masts"

    Nope - radition travels outwards in a sphere shape. Stand at the base of a mobile phone mast & despite the stronger signal you'll actually, because of the distance, have less signal going through your head than from the much smaller strength signal of your phone clamped to your head......

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 364.

    Unfortunately the research did not include all the people that have since developed acoustic neuroma's, which are benign cancers. Whilst the neuroma cannot kill, the resultant damage to the brain, if undetected, will.
    Evidence is there, shame the powers that be choose to either ignore it, or blame it on other reasons.

 

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