Study finds no link between cell phones, cancer

Major media sources provided coverage of a large study from Denmark that found no association between cell phone use and elevated cancer rates.

The AP reports that the “Danish study of more than 350,000 people,” the largest so far undertaken, “concluded there was no difference in cancer rates between people who had used a cellphone for about a decade and those who did not.”

Cancer rates in people who used cellphones for about 10 years were similar to rates in people without a cellphone.

People who use cell phones “were also no more likely to get a tumor in the part of the brain closest to where phones are usually held against the head.”

However, groups including “MobileWise … said the study wasn’t long enough to consider the long-term risk, since brain tumors can take decades to develop.”

The study was published in BMJ.

Bloomberg News notes that “the research is the largest of its type and used data that was already available, instead of retrospectively interviewing phone subscribers whose recall could be selective or unreliable, the scientists said.”

The New York Times “Well” blog reports, “The findings, published …as an update of a 2007 report, come nearly five months after a World Health Organization panel concluded that cellphones are ‘possibly carcinogenic.’

“Last year, a 13-country study called Interphone also found no overall increased risk, but reported that participants with the highest level of cellphone use had a 40 percent higher risk of glioma, an aggressive type of brain tumor.

“An accompanying editorial noted that although the results are reassuring, they must be viewed in the context of about 15 previous studies on cellphones and cancer risk, including those that did detect an association between heavy cellphone use and certain brain tumors.”

The Washington Post “The Checkup” blog reports, “As with earlier Danish research on which this study builds, the new study found no increase in incidence of any cancer among cellphone subscribers, even among those who had subscribed the longest (13 years or more).”

However, the study “authors noted that long-term subscription to a mobile phone contract does not equal long-term use of a mobile phone. They said that future research should examine actual cellphone use, not just duration of subscription to a cellphone plan.”

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