In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland reported that a frequent mobile phone user in the age group of 7-19 is at no higher risk of developing brain tumors just as children in the same age group with no cell phones.
The worldwide proportion of child mobile phone users has increased considerably over the last few years. Potentially unknown health risks in kids, such as brain cancer risk, are increasingly perturbing parents, scientists, and health care professionals. Unlike an adult, a child has a developing nervous system. There is a growing concern that radio frequency electromagnetic fields may penetrate children’s brains since their head size is smaller than that of adults.
Until now, no study as investigated the association between mobile phone use in children and brain tumor risk.
Martin Röösli, Ph.D. and team embarked upon determining whether mobile phone usage could possibly be related to brain tumor risk among children and teenagers. Using medical records, they gathered data of brain tumor patients in the age group of 7 to 19 years. Details regarding mobile phone usage were gathered from face-to-face interviews, and phone network providers were also contacted to obtain additional information.
The study involved 352 brain cancer patients and 646 healthy controls from Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Compared to participants who did not have mobile phones, the probability of developing brain cancer was “not statistically significantly more” among those who did.
• 73% (265) of brain cancer participants confirmed using a mobile phone at least 20 times before their diagnosis.
• 72.1% of the healthy controls confirmed using a mobile phone least 20 times during the same average period.
• 55% (194) of brain tumor participants admitted to being frequent mobile phone users.
• 51% of the healthy control subjects admitted to being regular mobile phone users.
• No association with brain cancer risk was found even amongst the highest mobile phone users.
The authors wrote: “Because we did not find a clear exposure-response relationship in most of these analyses, the available evidence does not support a causal association between the use of mobile phones and brain tumors.”
Nonetheless, the researchers recommended careful monitoring because this age group has demonstrated significantly high mobile phone usage over the last few years.
John D Boice, Jr., ScD. and Robert E. Tarone, PhD., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Maryland and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee wrote: “(Röösli and team) . . . “have filled an important gap in knowledge by showing no increased risk of brain tumors among children and adolescents who are regular cell phone users”
The authors explained that over the last 2 decades, brain cancer rates among adults, children, or teenagers have not altered significantly in the USA and several other industrialized nations. Considering a huge increase in mobile phone usage, these observations are quite reassuring.
The authors are in agreement with the study researchers that incidence rates should continuously be monitored closely. They indicate that the option of using the device’s speakerphone or an earpiece is always present for individuals concerned about exposure.
The authors added that instances of talking or texting while driving, which are known to increase the risk of an automobile accident or running a pedestrian over, should be avoided, and proven perils of mobile phone usage should not be disregarded.