Radiation Protection

EMR Literature Survey - May 2010

FEATURE ARTICLE:
   Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study

By: The INTERPHONE Study Group
Published in: Int J Epidemiol 2010: in press

SUMMARY

The INTERPHONE case-control study was conducted in 13 countries using a common protocol and it included 2708 glioma, 2409 meningioma cases and 5634 matched controls (healthy participants). There was a reduced risk for glioma and meningioma related to regular mobile phone use however the authors note that this possibly reflects selection bias (bias in the selection of subjects in the study, especially in the selection of controls) or other methodological limitations. There was no increased risk for glioma or meningioma for prolonged use (greater than 10 years after first phone use). There was an indication of an increased risk of glioma, and much less so meningioma, for the highest users (in terms of cumulative call time) in subjects who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumour and, for glioma, for tumours in the temporal lobe (region of the brain). The authors note that biases and other errors limit the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation (established connection between mobile phone use and brain tumour). The authors conclude that the possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.

PUBMED LINK

The paper is available from the International Journal of Epidemiology

Commentary by ARPANSA

ARPANSA released a statement on the publication of the INTERPHONE study.

INTERPHONE is the largest case-control study of mobile phone use and brain tumours yet and includes the largest numbers of users with at least 10 years of exposure.

The results of the INTERPHONE study do not establish an increased risk of brain cancer related to mobile phone use. There are suggestions of an association between use of mobile phone and brain cancer (most pronounced for glioma) in the group representing individuals with the highest cumulative call time. Limitations of the methodology prevent conclusions of causality being drawn from these observations. These include selection bias caused by nonparticipation of subjects selected in the study and recall bias from subjects reporting wrong information about their phone use.

In relation to the observations in the group with the highest cumulative call time, it is noted that the use of mobile phones has increased in recent times and especially among young people and children. However as noted by IARC this increasing use is tempered, by the lower emissions, on average, from newer technology phones, and the increasing use of texting and hands-free operations that keep the phone away from the head. Nevertheless the possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require monitoring and further study.

More information on the methodology of INTERPHONE, the study rationale, its protocol and previously published papers can be found on the IARC website.

IARC has scheduled a comprehensive review of the carcinogenic potential of mobile phone use under the auspices of its Monographs Programme. The review, will consider all published epidemiological and experimental evidence, including the new data from the Interphone study.


Assessment of induced SAR in children exposed to electromagnetic plane waves between 10 MHz and 5.6 GHz.

By:  Bakker JF et al
Published in: Phys Med Biol 2010; 55 (11): 3115 – 3130

SUMMARY

In this study modelling was used to calculate whether absorption of radiofrequency radiation by children is within the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP basic restrictions on RF absorption were exceeded for small children by a maximum 45%. The authors conclude that the ICNIRP guidelines may need to be revised.

PUBMED LINK

Commentary by ARPANSA

ICNIRP released a statement on it’s 1998 Guidelines (http://www.icnirp.de/documents/StatementEMF.pdf). ICNIRP states that the scientific literature published since the 1998 guidelines has provided no evidence of any adverse effects below the basic restrictions and does not necessitate an immediate revision of its guidance on limiting exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields. Particularly ICNIRP acknowledges that some published studies like Bakker et al have shown that in the frequency ranges of body resonance (~100 MHz) and from 1 to 4 GHz for bodies shorter than 1.3 m in height (corresponding approximately to children aged 8 y or younger) at the recommended reference level the induced SARs could be up to 40% higher than the current basic restriction under worst-case conditions. However, ICNIRP notes that this is negligible compared with the large reduction factor of 50 (5,000%) for the general public.


Exposure to electromagnetic fields (non-ionizing radiation) and its relationship with childhood leukemia: A systematic review.

By:  Calvente I et al
Published in: Sci Total Environ 2010: in press

SUMMARY

This is a review of the research into electromagnetic fields (extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation) and childhood leukaemia. The authors conclude that the studies to date have not convincingly confirmed or ruled out an association between electromagnetic fields and the risk of childhood leukaemia. They point out that disagreement in the results may be due to confounding factors (other explanations), selection bias (bias in selecting participants in a study), and misclassification (error in exposure classification). The authors recommend that the exposure limits for extremely low frequency fields should be revised based on combined experimental and epidemiological research.

PUBMED LINK


Exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of poor sperm quality

By:  Li DK et al
Published in: Reprod Toxicol 2010; 29 (1): 86 – 92

SUMMARY

This study investigated whether exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields is associated with poor sperm quality. Magnetic field exposure was compared between 76 males with poor sperm and 72 males with normal sperm. The males with the highest average exposure (greater than 1.6 milligauss) had a two-fold increased risk of abnormal sperm motility and morphology. The authors conclude that the results suggest that magnetic field exposure may have an adverse effect on sperm quality.

PUBMED LINK


Cellular (mobile) telephone use and cancer risk

By:  Linet MS and Inskip PD
Published in: Rev Environ Health 2010; 25 (1): 51 – 55

SUMMARY

This is a review of the epidemiological studies on mobile phones and cancer. Research prior to the INTERPHONE brain tumour pooled results are presented.

PUBMED LINK


WHO fact-sheet: Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones

By:  World Health Organisation
Published in: WHO website

SUMMARY

The World Health Organisation has published a new fact sheet on mobile phones and health.

The fact sheet is available from the WHO website.

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