Death by cellphone?

From the Independent newspaper (Mobile phones ‘more dangerous than smoking’)

Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take “immediate steps” to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence “exclusively reported in the IoS in October“ that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Most others disagree. I don’t know enough to say who is right. He took the unusual step of releasing his work while it is being peer-reviewed.

He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

He fears that “unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps”, the incidence of malignant brain tumours and associated death rate will be observed to rise globally within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to intervene medically.

This makes it sound like the incidence has not actually risen.

Late last week, the Mobile Operators Association dismissed Khurana’s study as “a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual”. It believes he “does not present a balanced analysis” of the published science, and “reaches opposite conclusions to the WHO and more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews”.

Khurana also contends that “exposure to asbestos is responsible for as many deaths in Britain as road accidents”, which seems surprising.

Thanks to Mickey.

March 31, 2008

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