Senate Hearing On Brain Cancer Risks From Cell Phone Use Nears As New Study Is Released

Senator Ted Kennedy's brain cancer could have been prevented if he had not used his cell phone so much. At least that is the argument being raised by health advocates who released a new study that concludes that too much cell phone use could lead to brain cancer.

The study, "Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone" was released by the International EMF Collaborative this week to counter another study funded by cell phone industry giants (The Interphone study), which minimizes the risk of cell phone use.

The International EMF Collaborative claims that the Interphone study, which begun in 1999, was "intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a 'systemic-skew', greatly underestimating brain tumor risk."

The EMF Collaborative's study is not the first to show that cell phones can increase the risk of brain cancer. The Dutch Health Council in Sweden released a similar report in 2006. But the EMF's study has been the only one so far that has been received dozens of endorsements from doctors, scientists, and experts from the US and Europe. According to Public News Service, one of the authors of the study, Lloyd Morgan, a retired electronics engineer from Berkeley who developed a brain tumor in 1995, says that his doctor told him that his tumor was probably caused by his work around electromagnetic fields.

"Bottom line is, cell phones are causing brain tumors. If you look at the independent research, it's absolutely clear. If you look at the telecom industry-funded research, it's spun such that it would appear that there are no risks," Morgan told PNS.

Advocates like Morgan have found that the cell phone industry-funded study has many flaws:
The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones,) as 'unexposed'; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.
The International EMF Collaborative, which is made up of Powerwatch and the EM Radiation Research Trust in the UK, and the EMR Policy Institute, and The Peoples Initiative Foundation in the US, found that:
  • There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use;
  • Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors, and;
  • Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors
  • The study also points out that cell phone manufacturers already warn consumers to keep their cell phones away from their bodies even when they are turned off. But advocates are concerned that consumers are not following the warnings. And, don't think that using a Bluetooth headset is going to prevent the risk of brain tumors - according to the study even those devices use electromagnetic signals.

    There has already been testimony to Congress from people who have lost loved ones to brain cancer on the dangers of cell phone use. Senator Arlen Specter who was diagnosed with brain cancer back in 1993 is pushing for Senate hearings on the matter in September. Several experts are expected to testify at the hearing.

    Advocates argue that there are ways consumers can protect themselves from the electromagnetic fields produced by cell phones, but that the government needs to step in and take action.

    To download the report, click here.