The researchers found that a higher risk of developing a glioma among those who used their cell phones for 10 years or more. They also had a much smaller risk of developing a meningioma, or benign tumor.
Even with these potential increased risks, the incidence of brain tumors is fairly rare. "Brain tumor incidence rates have been flat to slightly declining over the last 20 years," Brawley said. "That's not consistent with brain tumors being caused by cell phones."
"We know that cell phones kill people through accidents at a far higher rate than they would ever kill people due to brain tumors," he added.
"There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma in long-term mobile phone users with high radio frequency exposure and of similar, but apparently much smaller, increases in meningioma risk. The uncertainty of these results requires that they be replicated before a causal interpretation can be made," the study authors concluded.
John Walls, vice president for public affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association, said that "the peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices, within the limits established by the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], do not pose a public health risk or cause any adverse health effects."
In a companion study in the same issue of the journal, the same group of researchers looked at the effect of levels of radio frequency on the risk of developing brain tumors. They concluded that "while amount and duration of use are important determinants of radio frequency dose in the brain, their impact can be substantially modified by communication system, frequency band and location in the brain."
"It is important to take these into account in analysis of risk of brain tumors from radio frequency exposure from mobile phones," they added.
Dr. Ezriel R. Kornel, a brain and spine surgeon at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco
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