Monday, June 28, 2010

Cell Phone Towers Not Linked to Cancer

A rigorous new study out of the UK has failed to find a link between children's early childhood cancers and pregnant mothers' proximity to cell phone towers.

The study, led by researchers from Imperial College in London, was published this month in the British Medical Journal. It studied data from over 6,000 children, over 1,000 of which were cancer patients (every early childhood cancer patient in the UK under the age of 4, between 1999 and 2001, for which an address could be found), and the rest of which were controls. The researchers focused on finding or disproving a link between early childhood childhood cancers and the proximity of pregnant mothers to cell phone towers. They did not find any correlation between the two. A limitation of this study: it only investigated cancers whose early onset is in childhood. Paul Elliott, lead author of the study, writes: "we found no pattern to suggest that the children of [mothers] living near a base station during pregnancy had a greater risk of developing cancer than those who lived elsewhere."

The study was highly appraised by British medical professionals. Carl Heneghan, the deputy director of the  Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, a lecturer at Oxford University, writes: "overall this is a well done study and allows us to feel more certain about the evidence base that there is no association between risk of cancer in young children and exposure to mobile phone base stations." Eileen Rubery, former director of the public health prevention department of the UK Department of Health, says: "this is a carefully done study by a highly reputable group of epidemiologists." Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, says: "this study seems exemplary in its approach. The findings are well concluded and the methodology is thorough."

Want to read more about it? Try WebMD, ReutersGuardian, Guardian Health, Guardian/BMJ, Wall Street Journal, Heneghan's blog, NHS Choices, Reuters, Washington Post, Business Week, MedPage Today, Associated Press, Independent, CNN, Time, LA Times.

Study Abstract in the  British Medical Journal

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