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Study finds no link between adolescent cancer and cellphones

News by Dan Seifert on Thursday July 28, 2011.

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A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found no link between the use of cellphones and development of brain tumors in adolescents. This particular study looked at 1,000 European youths, and was prompted by concerns that younger people would be more susceptible to radiation emitted by cellphones.

The study, which was conducted in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, looked at cellphone usage of 352 youths between the ages of 7 and 19 who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor between the years 2004 and 2008. The remaining 646 participants in the study were randomly pulled from the general population, but they match gender, age, and geographical characteristics of the first group.

The scientists quizzed each participant in their cellphone use and how often they used their phones for voice calls where they would be holding the phone up to the side of their head. Usage data from wireless providers was also obtained when possible.

The study's results found no link between cellphone use and brain tumor development, and that regular users of cellphones were no more likely to develop a brain tumor than those who used a cellphone less frequently. The scientists also found that there was no increased likelihood of tumors in areas of the brain that saw the most direct cellphone exposure.

The study does have some limitations, most notably that many of the participants had been using cellphones for an average of only four years, and that may not be enough time to determine risk of cancer. Also, since many adolescents do not use their phones for voice calls often, as many prefer text messages or other forms of communication, the amount of time that the phone was held up to the side of the head was relatively short. Finally, some scientists are skeptical because the researchers could not use billing records to determine usage 100 percent of the time, and those who already have brain cancer may not have the best recollection of how they used their phones.

Many conflicting studies have come out over the years regarding the cancer risk of using cellphones, or lack thereof, and none have been able to prove conclusively whether cellphones contribute to cancer development or not. The World Health Organization recently reclassified cellphones as possibly carcinogenic, a label that it has also given to coffee and pickles. Most recently, studies, like this one of children, have shown that there is no link between cellphone use and cancer development, though some studies come to a different conclusion. [via Wall Street Journal]

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About the author

Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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