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No link found between cell phones and cancer


Results of an Adelaide University study into claimed links between digital mobile phone emissions and growth of cancer in mice add to the weight of scientific opinion supporting the safety of mobile phones, says the Executive Director of the Information Technology Association of New Zealand (ITANZ), Mr Jim O’Neill.

“The study results are good news for mobile phone users," he says.

Scientists from the university announced last week that they could not reproduce the results of an earlier pilot study that found digital phone emissions doubled the cancer rate in genetically engineered cancer prone mice.

"It was significant," says Mr O'Neill, "that the study, which was carried out under more stringent and controlled conditions than the pilot study, also did not find any increase in tumours in the normal (non-genetically engineered) mice.

"The Adelaide null results show the importance of the full scientific process of peer review, publication in recognised journals and replication. Claims by some that the industry downplayed the 1997 pilot study results because they were not replicated can now be dismissed."

Mr O'Neill says it was unfortunate that the result of the pilot study was misrepresented, along with implications it had for the health of mobile phone users.

"The new study tested whether exposure of digital phone emissions increased tumour incidence in cancer prone mice, as well as normal mice. The study used 1600 mice compared to the 200 used in the pilot study. The mice were exposed to radio frequency levels of 0.5, 1.0 and 4.0 W/Kg for an hour per day for 24 months compared to a single daily dose and an 18 month period for the pilot study.

"The same central hypotheses of the 1997 study was tested but refined to address criticisms and shortcomings. Among these were complaints that the mice were free to roam around during the exposure resulting in a wide variation of exposure levels; that no normal mice were studied to see if the effect was unique to the cancer prone mice; and, that the mice still alive were assumed to be cancer free but not tested.

"No significant increase in any tumours in the mice at any of the exposure levels was found during the new study which was peer reviewed and published in the U.S. medical journal Radiation Research."

Mr O'Neill says the authors of the new study concluded: "There was no significant difference in the incidence of lymphomas between exposed and sham-exposed groups at any of the exposure levels. A dose-response effect was not detected".

“In keeping with ITANZ’s long-standing policy of updating the market of on-going research in the areas of cell phone safety we think that these latest findings will be of considerable interest to the public who are enthusiastic users of cell phone technologies.”

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