Mobile Phone Use Raises Children's Risk of Brain Cancer
Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research in Sweden suggests. The research was reported this month at the first international conference on mobile phones and health.
The experts raised fear that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life. At least nine out of 10 British 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 per cent of primary schoolchildren.
After further analysis of data from one of the biggest studies carried out into the risk that the radiation causes cancer, headed by Professor Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, Professor Hardell says, "people who started mobile phone use before the age of 20" had more than five-fold increase in glioma," a cancer of the glial cells that support the central nervous system. The extra risk to young people of contracting the disease from using the cordless phone found in many homes was almost as great, at more than four times higher. Those who started using mobiles young, were also five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas, benign but often disabling tumours of the auditory nerve, which usually cause deafness.
This is a warning sign. It is very worrying. We should be taking precautions. Hardell believes that children under 12 should not use mobiles except in emergencies and that teenagers should use hands-free devices or headsets and concentrate on texting. At 20 the danger diminishes because then the brain is fully developed. Indeed, he admits, the hazard to children and teenagers may be greater even than his results suggest, because the results of his study do not show the effects of their using the phones for many years. Most cancers take decades to develop, longer than mobile phones have been on the market.
Hardell said, "It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use of mobile in childhood," but he said he "would be extremely surprised" if the risk was shown to be so high once all the evidence was in.
Tags: Children , Mobie Phones , Brain Cancer , Radiation
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