Article

Association between number of cell phone contracts and brain tumor incidence in nineteen U.S. States

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Abstract

Some concern has arisen about adverse health effects of cell phones, especially the possibility that the low power microwave-frequency signal transmitted by the antennas on handsets might cause brain tumors or accelerate the growth of subclinical tumors. We analyzed data from the Statistical Report: Primary Brain Tumors in the United States, 2000-2004 and 2007 cell phone subscription data from the Governing State and Local Sourcebook. There was a significant correlation between number of cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors in nineteen US states (r = 0.950, P < 0.001). Because increased numbers of both cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors could be due solely to the fact that some states, such as New York, have much larger populations than other states, such as North Dakota, multiple linear regression was performed with number of brain tumors as the dependent variable, cell phone subscriptions, population, mean family income and mean age as independent variables. The effect of cell phone subscriptions was significant (P = 0.017), and independent of the effect of mean family income (P = 0.894), population (P = 0.003) and age (0.499). The very linear relationship between cell phone usage and brain tumor incidence is disturbing and certainly needs further epidemiological evaluation. In the meantime, it would be prudent to limit exposure to all sources of electro-magnetic radiation.

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... The Standard of living and Human relationship factors, which are contributors to the mental health aspect of successful aging and to high quality of life, were measured in the current study by the proportion of the population using fixed-telephone subscriptions (FTS). Although the relationship between cell phone usage and brain tumor incidence needs further epidemiological study [16], if an individual's mental health improves or is maintained through telephone usage, this can be considered as having a beneficial effect on human relationships. In addition, a telephone subscription can be used for emergency calls in the case of accident. ...
... The Standard of living and Human relationship factors of FTS, which can contribute to good mental health and to the high quality of life that is implicated in successful aging, were included in Models 2 and 3. Increases in FTS led to an increase in the CR (50-54), suggesting that this is a significant contributory factor to longevity and successful aging. Although cell phone usage needs further epidemiological evaluation [16], in the current study the FTS scores in Germany (63.05) and Switzerland (60.82) were the highest in any of the countries studied (Table 1), in agreement with their high CR (50-54) values (Table 2). Generally, OECD countries are likely to have high correlations between FTS and longevity because these variables are reflective of generally high levels of government investment, either in health or telecommunications infrastructure [18], as well as indicators of the high quality of life and high individual income of citizens in OECD countries. ...
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... An exposure to the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and mobile-phone base stations, in turn, is a very ambiguous explanatory factor due to the lack of clear consensus regarding the association between brain cancer and mobile phones in general; "limited evidence" of an increased risk of brain tumors in long-term mobile phone users have been suggested. [26][27][28] However, the reported correlative state-level relationship between the brain tumor incidence and number of cell phone contracts in the US, [29] stresses the need for more epidemiologic research. ...
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... One problem with this method is the high probability of recall bias, where both cases and controls might have a hard time remem-bering how often and for how long they used cell phones [22,23]. A recently published paper took a different approach to studying this topic by looking at the correlation between cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors [40]. The authors found that there was a significant association between the number of cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors. ...
... The authors found that there was a significant association between the number of cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors. Using multiple linear regression analysis, the effect of cell phone subscriptions was significant and independent of the effect of mean income, population and mean age [40]. ...
... The methodology employed in recent article Lehrer et al. [1] raises significant cause for concern. The authors present data which tends to indicate that cell phone use (or at least a contract for a cell phone) is associated with the incidence of brain tumors. ...
... The recent publication by Volkow et al. [5] demonstrating an increased in glucose activity following cell phone, includes a statement that the evidence linking cell phone use and brain cancer as being controversial and then cite three publications in favour of such an association and three against. Citing Lehrer et al. [1] among the evidence of an association between cell phone use and brain cancer demonstrates the how studies with an erroneous methodology can be used to support important Public Health claims and also demonstrates the weakness of the evidence There is a significant correlation (r = 0.92, P \ 0.001) ...
... Tos et al. (2004) examined Danish incidence rates of vestibular Schwannoma from 1996 to 2001. There is a slow and steady increase from 1976 to 1990, then from 1990 to 1995 a marginal increase followed by a significant increase with a mean incidence per 100,000 population of 1.74 in 1996-2001.Lehrer et al. (2011) reported a significant correlation between number of cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors in nineteen US states (r = 0.950, P < 0.001) for years 2000-2004 using 2007 cellphone subscription data. Latency for brain cancer is believed to extend from 7 to 40 years. The effect of cell phone subscriptions (P = 0.017) was independent of t ...
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... Another factor that could not be totally ruled out and that could have played a role in the development of sarcoma in the cases reported here is the localized cumulative lowelectromagnetic exposure related to the presence of the transponder. However, available studies on the role of electromagnetic fields in the development of glioma and acoustic neuroma among users of wireless telephones are of insufficient quality, consistency, and statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of a causal association between exposure and cancer (Lehrer et al. 2011). ...
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... They found that the brain tumor incidence rates were either stable, decreased, or showed a continued, gradual increase that started before the introduction of cell phones and was ''consistent with mobile phone use having no observable effect on brain tumor incidence during that period.' ' Nelson et al. [2006] examined acoustic neuroma trends in England and Wales for 1979-2001 and found no trends associated with cell phone use. Lehrer et al. [2011] was the only study to report a statistically significant correlation between brain cancer incidence in 19 states in the USA during 2000-2004, and cell phone subscriptions in 2007. Their study failed to take into account the population size when making comparisons of absolute numbers between states and thus was flawed and [1977][1978][1979][1980][1981][1982][1983][1984][1985][1986][1987][1988][1989][1990][1991] and the period including widespread use (1992)(1993)(1994)(1995)(1996)(1997)(1998)(1999)(2000)(2001)(2002)(2003)(2004)(2005)(2006), and they included approximately 10% of the US population. ...
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During the last century, mankind has introduced electricity and during the very last decades, the microwaves of the modern communication society have spread a totally new entity--the radiofrequency fields--around the world. How does this affect biology on Earth? The mammalian brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier, which prevents harmful substances from reaching the brain tissue. There is evidence that exposure to electromagnetic fields at non thermal levels disrupts this barrier. In this review, the scientific findings in this field are presented. The result is a complex picture, where some studies show effects on the blood-brain barrier, whereas others do not. Possible mechanisms for the interactions between electromagnetic fields and the living organisms are discussed. Demonstrated effects on the blood-brain barrier, as well as a series of other effects upon biology, have caused societal anxiety. Continued research is needed to come to an understanding of how these possible effects can be neutralized, or at least reduced. Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that proven effects on biology also should have positive potentials, e.g., for medical use.
Article
Methods An interview-based case-control study with 2708 glioma and 2409 meningioma cases and matched controls was conducted in 13 countries using a common protocol. Results A reduced odds ratio (OR) related to ever having been a regular mobile phone user was seen for glioma [OR 0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70-0.94] and meningioma (OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.68-0.91), possibly reflecting participation bias or other methodological limitations. No elevated OR was observed >= 10 years after first phone use (glioma: OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.76-1.26; meningioma: OR 0.83; 95% CI 0.61-1.14). ORs were < 1.0 for all deciles of lifetime number of phone calls and nine deciles of cumulative call time. In the 10th decile of recalled cumulative call time, >= 1640 h, the OR was 1.40 (95% CI 1.03-1.89) for glioma, and 1.15 (95% CI 0.81-1.62) for meningioma; but there are implausible values of reported use in this group. ORs for glioma tended to be greater in the temporal lobe than in other lobes of the brain, but the CIs around the lobe-specific estimates were wide. ORs for glioma tended to be greater in subjects who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumour than on the opposite side. Conclusions Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.
Article
The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain. However, whether acute cell phone exposure affects the human brain is unclear. To evaluate if acute cell phone exposure affects brain glucose metabolism, a marker of brain activity. Randomized crossover study conducted between January 1 and December 31, 2009, at a single US laboratory among 47 healthy participants recruited from the community. Cell phones were placed on the left and right ears and positron emission tomography with ((18)F)fluorodeoxyglucose injection was used to measure brain glucose metabolism twice, once with the right cell phone activated (sound muted) for 50 minutes ("on" condition) and once with both cell phones deactivated ("off" condition). Statistical parametric mapping was used to compare metabolism between on and off conditions using paired t tests, and Pearson linear correlations were used to verify the association of metabolism and estimated amplitude of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic waves emitted by the cell phone. Clusters with at least 1000 voxels (volume >8 cm(3)) and P < .05 (corrected for multiple comparisons) were considered significant. Brain glucose metabolism computed as absolute metabolism (μmol/100 g per minute) and as normalized metabolism (region/whole brain). Whole-brain metabolism did not differ between on and off conditions. In contrast, metabolism in the region closest to the antenna (orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole) was significantly higher for on than off conditions (35.7 vs 33.3 μmol/100 g per minute; mean difference, 2.4 [95% confidence interval, 0.67-4.2]; P = .004). The increases were significantly correlated with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes both for absolute metabolism (R = 0.95, P < .001) and normalized metabolism (R = 0.89; P < .001). In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. This finding is of unknown clinical significance.
Article
This review summarizes and interprets epidemiologic evidence bearing on a possible causal relation between radiofrequency field exposure from mobile phone use and tumor risk. In the last few years, epidemiologic evidence on mobile phone use and the risk of brain and other tumors of the head in adults has grown in volume, geographic diversity of study settings, and the amount of data on longer-term users. However, some key methodologic problems remain, particularly with regard to selective nonresponse and inaccuracy and bias in recall of phone use. Most studies of glioma show small increased or decreased risks among users, although a subset of studies show appreciably elevated risks. We considered methodologic features that might explain the deviant results, but found no clear explanation. Overall the studies published to date do not demonstrate an increased risk within approximately 10 years of use for any tumor of the brain or any other head tumor. Despite the methodologic shortcomings and the limited data on long latency and long-term use, the available data do not suggest a causal association between mobile phone use and fast-growing tumors such as malignant glioma in adults (at least for tumors with short induction periods). For slow-growing tumors such as meningioma and acoustic neuroma, as well as for glioma among long-term users, the absence of association reported thus far is less conclusive because the observation period has been too short.
Article
Global exposures to emerging wireless technologies from applications including mobile phones, cordless phones, DECT phones, WI-FI, WLAN, WiMAX, wireless internet, baby monitors, and others may present serious public health consequences. Evidence supporting a public health risk is documented in the BioInitiative Report. New, biologically based public exposure standards for chronic exposure to low-intensity exposures are warranted. Existing safety standards are obsolete because they are based solely on thermal effects from acute exposures. The rapidly expanding development of new wireless technologies and the long latency for the development of such serious diseases as brain cancers means that failure to take immediate action to reduce risks may result in an epidemic of potentially fatal diseases in the future. Regardless of whether or not the associations are causal, the strengths of the associations are sufficiently strong that in the opinion of the authors, taking action to reduce exposures is imperative, especially for the fetus and children. Such action is fully compatible with the precautionary principle, as enunciated by the Rio Declaration, the European Constitution Principle on Health (Section 3.1) and the European Union Treaties Article 174.
Article
As cellular telephones are a relatively new technology, we do not yet have long-term follow-up on their possible biological effects. However, the lack of ionizing radiation and the low energy level emitted from cell phones and absorbed by human tissues make it unlikely that these devices cause cancer. Moreover, several well-designed epidemiologic studies find no consistent association between cell phone use and brain cancer. It is impossible to prove that any product or exposure is absolutely safe, especially in the absence of very long-term follow-up. Accordingly, the following summary from the Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health offers advice to people concerned about their risk: If there is a risk from these products--and at this point we do not know that there is--it is probably very small. But if people are concerned about avoiding even potential risks, there are simple steps they can take to do so. People who must conduct extended conversations in their cars every day could switch to a type of mobile phone that places more distance between their bodies and the source of the RF, since the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance. For example, they could switch to: a mobile phone in which the antenna is located outside the vehicle, a hand-held phone with a built-in antenna connected to a different antenna mounted on the outside of the car or built into a separate package, or a headset with a remote antenna to a mobile phone carried at the waist. Again the scientific data do not demonstrate that mobile phones are harmful. But if people are concerned about the radiofrequency energy from these products, taking the simple precautions outlined above can reduce any possible risk. In addition, people who are concerned might choose digital rather than analog telephones, since the former use lower RF levels.
Article
About 15% of the ionizing radiation exposure to the general public comes from artificial sources, and almost all of this exposure is due to medical radiation, largely from diagnostic procedures. Of the approximately 3 mSv annual global per caput effective dose estimated for the year 2000, 2.4 mSv is from natural background and 0.4 mSv from diagnostic medical exams. Diagnostic and therapeutic radiation was used in patients as early as 1896. Since then, continual improvements in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy as well as the aging of our population have led to greater use of medical radiation. Temporal trends indicate that worldwide population exposure from medical radiation is increasing. In the United States, there has been a steady rise in the use of diagnostic radiologic procedures, especially x rays. Radiotherapy also has increased so that today about 40% of cancer patients receive some treatment with radiation. Epidemiologic data on medically irradiated populations are an important complement to the atomic-bomb survivors' studies. Significant improvement in cancer treatment over the last few decades has resulted in longer survival and a growing number of radiation-related second cancers. Following high-dose radiotherapy for malignant diseases, elevated risks of a variety of radiation-related second cancers have been observed. Risks have been particularly high following treatment for childhood cancer. Radiation treatment for benign disease was relatively common from the 1940's to the 1960's. While these treatments generally were effective, some resulted in enhanced cancer risks. As more was learned about radiation-associated cancer risks and new treatments became available, the use of radiotherapy for benign disease has declined. At moderate doses, such as those used to treat benign diseases, radiation-related cancers occur in or near the radiation field. Cancers of the thyroid, salivary gland, central nervous system, skin, and breast as well as leukemia have been associated with radiotherapy for tinea capitis, enlarged tonsils or thymus gland, other benign conditions of the head and neck, or benign breast diseases. Because doses from diagnostic examinations typically are low, they are difficult to study using epidemiologic methods, unless multiple examinations are performed. An excess risk of breast cancer has been reported among women with tuberculosis who had multiple chest fluoroscopies as well as among scoliosis patients who had frequent diagnostic x rays during late childhood and adolescence. Dental and medical diagnostic x rays performed many years ago, when doses were presumed to be high, also have been linked to increased cancer risks. The carcinogenic effects of diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides are less well characterized. High risks of liver cancer and leukemia have been demonstrated following thorotrast injections, and patients treated with radium appear to have an elevated risk of bone sarcomas and possibly cancers of the breast, liver, kidney, thyroid, and bladder.
Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to cancer. Daily Telegraph (London) 5. INTERPHONE Study Group (2010) Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE interna-tional case-control study
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Beckford M, Winnett R (2009 Oct 24) Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to cancer. Daily Telegraph (London) 5. INTERPHONE Study Group (2010) Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE interna-tional case-control study. Int J Epidemiol 39(3):675–694
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Department of Radiation Oncology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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S. Lehrer (&) Department of Radiation Oncology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA e-mail: stevenlehrer@hotmail.com
24) Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to cancer
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