Public Health

Benign Cells?

Cancer and Mobile Phones

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In 1993 David Reynard declared on Larry King Live that a cell phone had caused his wife's fatal brain cancer and that he was suing for damages. He lost the case due to a lack of scientific evidence for his claim, but his TV appearance set off a wave of suits making similar allegations. Four huge class actions against the leading cellular phone companies are still wending their ways through the courts.

Trial lawyers compare the mobile phone companies to the tobacco industry and claim they're guilty of an elaborate cancer cover-up. That conspiracy theory might finally be quashed by a huge study reported in the December Journal of the National Institute of Cancer.

The researchers followed 420,095 Danish mobile telephone users for up to 21 years, looking for brain, salivary gland, or eye cancers and leukemia. During that time, the group had 14,249 cancers, which translates into a rate slightly lower than Denmark's expected rate for the general population.

"We found no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users," the researchers conclude. That's good news for the world's 2.1 billion mobile phone subscribers and bad news for trial lawyers.


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