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No link to cancer in large-scale mobile phone study

PARIS (AFP) - The largest study of its kind found no link between long-term use of mobile phones and increased risk of brain tumours, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported on Friday.

Danish researchers found no evidence of enhanced risk among more than 350,000 mobile-phone subscribers whose health was monitored over 18 years.

(Yonhap News)
(Yonhap News)

Earlier research on the possible link between cell phone use and cancerous tumours has been inconclusive, partly due to lack of long-term data.

In June, the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the radio-frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

The new study follows up an earlier investigation that compared the cancer risk faced by all mobile phone subscribers in Denmark -- some 420,000 people -- with the rest of the adult population.

Patrizia Frei, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Danish Cancer Society, and colleagues examined health records from 1990 to 2007 for 358,403 cell phone subscribers.

Overall, 10,729 tumours of the central nervous system were diagnosed.

But among people with the longest mobile phone use -- 13 years or more -- cancer rates were nearly the same as for non-subscribers.

"The extended follow-up allowed us to investigate effects in people who had used mobile phones for 10 years or more, and this long-term use was not associated with higher risks of cancer," the study concluded.

The findings, however, could not rule out the possibility of a "small to moderate increase in risk" for very heavy users, or people who have used cell phones for longer than 15 years.

"Further studies with large study populations where the potential for misclassification of exposure and selection bias is minimised are warranted,"

the researchers said.

In a commentary, Anders Ahlbom and Maria Feychting from Sweden's Karolinska Institute said the new evidence was reassuring but called for continued monitoring of health registers.

There are about five billion mobile phones registered in the world, a figure that continues to rise sharply along with the average amount of time spent using them.

The IARC does not issue formal recommendations, but its experts pointed in June to a number of ways consumers can reduce possible risk.

Texting and using hands-free sets for voice calls lower exposure to potentially harmful radiation, compared to device-to-ear voice calls, by at least 10-fold, they said.


'휴대폰, 암 발병과 무관'

휴대전화 장기 사용과 악성 뇌종양 발병 사이에 아무런 연 관도 없다는 연구 결과가 21일 영국의학전문지 브리티시메디컬저널에 발표됐다 .

덴마크학자들의 이번 연구는 휴대전화와 암 발병 사이의 상관관계를 조사한  이 제까지의 연구 중 최대규모로 실시된 된 것이다.

이들은 35만명 이상의 휴대전화 사용자를 대상으로 18년간의 건강 기록을 추적 조사한 결과 휴대전화와 암 발병 사이에 아무 관계도 나타나지 않았다고 밝혔다.

덴마크암학회의 파트리치아 프라이 박사후과정 연구원 팀은 휴대전화 사용자 35 만8천여명의 건강 자료를 1990년부터 2007년까지 조사했다.

이 결과 1만729명의 중추신경계종양 환자가 확인됐지만 13년 이상 휴대전화  장 기사용자와 휴대전화를 사용하지 않는 사람들 사이에 암 발병률이 거의 동일한 것으 로 나타났다.

그러나 이번 연구결과는 휴대전화를 15년 이상 장기사용하거나 많이 사용하는 사람들이 "다소 (뇌종양) 위험성이 커질 가능성"은 배제하지 않았다.

이제까지 휴대전화가 암을 일으킬 가능성을 시사하는 연구 결과는 많이  발표됐 지만 장기간에 걸친 자료를 다룬 연구결과가 없어 뚜렷한 결론이 나오지 않았다.

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