Health risks of mobile phones: what we don’t know might be killing us | The Age

Are mobile phones the new cigarettes? Will we discover that the telecommunication industry, like the tobacco industry, has dismissed evidence that their product can kill us? Most Australians own a mobile phone. As we increasingly use our mobiles, evidence is trickling in about their potential for negative physical, psychological and financial consequences. These studies rarely make a blip on the radar.

Ten years ago, when seven people working at RMIT were diagnosed with brain tumours, a Telstra spokesperson was quick to reassure us that there was “no evidence” of a link between mobile phones and cancer.  On the contrary. Although research was in its infancy, there was evidence of a possible relationship between mobile phone use and brain cancers, particularly gliomas, acoustic neuromas and parotid gland tumours. These earlier studies showed an increased risk for malignant brain tumours among the heavier mobile phone users, particularly when it was used mostly on one side of the head.

In 2016, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer described mobile phones as a potential carcinogen. Yet the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association adamantly rejects any claim that low-energy radiation from mobile phones has any detrimental health effects.

Most studies compare the mobile phone use of people who have cancer with those who don’t.  These studies rely on people remembering how often and for how long they used their mobile phone in the past. The largest case-control study to date is the Interphone study. It included more than 5000 people with head and neck cancer from 13 countries, including Australia. Like research funded by the tobacco industry, the Interphone study claimed complete scientific independence despite receiving partial funding from the telecommunication industry. 

A friend was a participant in the Interphone study. A researcher interviewed her soon after the removal of her brain tumour. She was asked the brand, model, shape, size and level of radioactivity of her first mobile phone and how often she used it. Not surprisingly, she could not remember. Who could?

There is concern that children may be more vulnerable to any effects due to their developing nervous systems, thinner skulls and increased cumulative exposure over their lifetime. The World Health Organisation has ranked the effects of mobile phones on children and adolescents as a “highest priority research need”. To date there have been two studies focusing on childhood cancers and mobile phone use. One has reported no association; the other, “Study of cognition, adolescents and mobile phones” (Scamp) is ongoing.

Several scientific journals no longer publish potentially biased studies that are funded by the tobacco industry. These same standards should apply to research paid for by the telecommunication industry. We need independent research so that we can all know the risks when we pick up our phone.

Sarah Russell, Principal Researcher at Research Matters

Abridged from The Age

This entry was posted in Smart Meter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Health risks of mobile phones: what we don’t know might be killing us | The Age

  1. Let's get real about RF says:

    It seems Victoria is again Australia’s guinea pig for new technology. Now even V/Line is getting in on the act of dousing us with unnecessary radiation.

    Improved mobile coverage on country trains is arriving, courtesy of yet more mobile phone towers PLUS “mobile reception repeaters in VLocity trains”. The repeaters are used to boost the signal from mobile towers outside the rail carriage to devices used inside. If successful, the repeaters are to be rolled out across the entire VLocity fleet in 2018.

    If this is an issue for you, please consider complaining to V/Line and the state government. Regional Labor MPs along with the Minister for Business, Innovation and Trade (Hon Philip Dalidakis), and the Minister for Regional Development (Hon Jaala Pulford) are all happily taking credit for this new “advance”.

  2. Max Havelar says:

    This is very interesting reading from our friends across the Tasman in NZ.

    It’s interesting that there is a zigbee chip consideration as well in addition to the comms module/ modem that BOTH need to be removed. Take heed especially customers in Australia having EDMI meters MK-7A, MK-7C, MK-10A & MK-10C. Powercor customers having the black box E350 would need only the one comms module removed which would also cause removal of the zigbee transmitter being incorporated into the one module.

    I suspect Jemena’s i-Credit-500 devices have integrated comms module which means the chip cannot be removed. They transmit all the time 24-7-365 year after year after year. The only variation is that they could have their transmission power turned down 90%. It’s either 90% down or full power with this device. As far as I am concerned, 10% poison is still poison. And that sort of control ie. that determines how much emr your sacred body is exposed to happens from inside someone’s office potentially meglomaniac and likely megolomaniac. And you have no visibility if power level has been turned down or if power level having been turned down is turned up to full power again by unknown persons. How could you ever put your trust in that situation ?

  3. Simmo says:

    Did you know these smart meters should be replaced every 10 years as your smoke detector goodone gov

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s