cell phone 88.
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An important study by epidemiologists from five European countries soon to be published in the print edition of the International Journal of Cancer has found a nearly 40 percent increase in a type of brain tumor among those who had used a cellphone for a decade or more.
The increase in gliomas, which was found to be statistically significant, was accompanied by a trend showing that the brain tumor risk increased with years of use.
This is the second type of tumor that has been linked to long-term cellphone use. In 2004, the Swedish Interphone group reported a doubling of acoustic neuromas - a benign (non-cancerous) tissue growth that arises on the eighth cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear - among people who had used a mobile phone for 10 years or more.
Most other studies have not shown conclusive evidence linking an increase risk of brain tumors with cellphone use.
The new retrospective study is based on the data collected in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the UK and included 1,521 glioma cases and 3,301 controls. There were 143 cases with 10 or more years of mobile phone use.
Prof. Elihu Richter, a senior expert in electromagnetic radiation and recently retired head of the occupational and environmental medicine unit of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, called the study "an extremely important piece of information" that should become widely known.
Meanwhile, three senior members of the US public health community, all with major experience in researching non-ionizing radiation, have called for precautionary policies to limit leukemia risks to children from cellular phone use after studying the new evidence that long-term use of a cellphone may lead to the development of a brain tumor on the side of the head the phone is used.
At a recent public hearing convened by the Connecticut Siting Council, Drs. David Carpenter, Raymond Neutra and Daniel Wartenberg testified in support of prudent avoidance, especially by children.
A few days ago, The Times of London revealed that Lawrie Challis, the head of the UK research effort on mobile phones and health, is in the final stages of negotiations for a study of 200,000 mobile phone users who will be monitored for cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. "We know from smoking and from the bomb falling in Hiroshima that nothing was seen for 10 years," Challis told the BBC. The Times ran a companion article under the headline: "Could these be the cigarettes of the 21st century? ... 'Absolutely'." And in an editorial, The Times applauded the decision to carry out the new long-term study: "The precautionary principle still applies here. Manufacturers should welcome the new study."
International cellphone companies have not commented yet, but whenever studies suggesting possible health damage from cellphones are published, the umbrella organization representing the companies in Israel notes that it observes all Israeli regulations and standards.