A new study has found that intensive use of cellphones could triple the chances of getting certain types of brain cancer.
The study, conducted by Swedish doctors and published online in the peer-reviewed journal, International Journal of Oncology, assessed the association between mobile phone use and brain cancer risk.
Overall, the research found that people who used wireless phones for more than a year were at 70% greater risk of brain cancer as compared to those who used wireless phones for a year or less.
Those who used wireless phones for more than 25 years were at greatest risk – 300% greater – of developing brain cancer than those who used wireless phones for a year or less.
Notably, however, the total number of hours of wireless phone use is as important as the number of years of use, the group said.
A fourth of the sample used wireless phones for 2,376 or more hours in their lifetime, which corresponds to about 40 minutes a day over ten years.
These heavier users had 250% greater risk of brain tumors as compared to those who never used wireless phones or used them for less than 39 hours in their lifetime.
According to the centre for global research, the type of cancer risk in the study relates to giloma – which only has a 0.005% chance of being diagnosed. This means the triple risk of this type of cancer being diagnosed would push it up to 0.015% – or 15 out of 100,000 people.
Nevertheless, the group recommends minimising exposure to cellular radiation by turning it off when it’s not being used, and not sleeping with cellular devices next to your head.
“We previously analysed the evidence on glioma associated with the use of wireless phones…We concluded that glioma and also acoustic neuroma are caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones, and thus regarded as carcinogenic,” the Swedish researchers said.
“[This] indicates that current guidelines for exposure should be urgently revised. This pooled analysis gives further support to that conclusion regarding glioma.”
2014 has seen a number of reports on cellphone radiation being published, often with contrasting conclusions.
In May, another peer-reviewed study found evidence that intensive mobile phone use could put cellphone users at risk of developing certain types of brain cancer – though regular users appeared to be safe.
The study was conducted by researchers from Bordeaux University and published in the peer-reviewed Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal.
The researchers found no association between regular mobile phone use and risk of the brain tumour (phoning at least once a week for six months or more); however, it did find an increased risk of common types of brain tumors with intensive mobile phone use (active calling for more than 15 hours per month).
These findings are counter to another study by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme, which found that exposure to radiation from mobile phones and base stations will not increase the risk of developing cancer.
Both groups of researchers conceded that the short time that mobile phone use has been widespread, no studies have been properly able to investigate risk in relation to long-term use, and pointed to the COSMOS cohort study currently being implemented in Europe to investigate the long-term impact of mobile phone use.