Study: No Link Between Cell Phone Use and Cancer
Danish Study Is One of the Largest to Look for a Link Between Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors
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So, Cell Phones Safe or Not? continued...
Jonathan Samet, MD, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles, who led that panel, says these new findings wouldn't have changed their ruling.
"While this study does not show any association, it does not establish "safety" -- that is, the absence of risk," Samet says in an email. "This is a useful addition to the literature, and we need more studies of high quality."
Swiss researchers who wrote an editorial on the study said it had important strengths that should further reassure cell phone users.
Perhaps the biggest advantage was because it used large databases, the study did not need to rely on people to remember details about their cell phone use. Faulty memory can be a major source of inaccurate information in studies.
Why More Research Is Needed
One weakness, though, was that the study used mobile phone contracts as a way to estimate use.
Just having a cell phone contract doesn't mean a person is using a phone regularly, and some people who don't have contracts will have pay-as-you-go phones.
"The resulting misclassification would dilute any association between mobile phone use and cancer risk, and this is important for a ... study like the current one," says Anders Ahlbom, professor of environmental medicine at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in an editorial.
Researchers agree that this study should not be the final word.
"Our study can't answer all the questions," says Frei. For example, she says questions remain about risks associated with continued long-term use of cell phones, for longer than 20 years. And there's been little information about the use of cell phones in children, she says.
"We couldn't say that we've solved all the problems so far. I would still say that we have some limited evidence," she says.
For another perspective on the cell phone debate, read the commentary of Children's Health blogger Roy Benaroch.