Mobiles and mouth cancers

Reserach has found a lilnk between long-term mobile phone use and mouth cancers.

Using a mobile phone can increase the risk of tumours of the parotid gland by up to 50% according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

This startling finding casts further doubts on the safety of mobile phones and lends support to previous studies that have found a connection between mobile phone use and brain tumours.

In the present study, Dr Siegal Sadetzki and colleagues from Chaim Sheba Medical Centre in Israel studied a sample of 1726 volunteers: 402 with benign tumours of the parotid gland, 58 with malignant tumours and 1266 healthy controls.

The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands and, situated at the back of the mouth close to the ear, is therefore particularly relevant to research on mobile phone safety.

For regular mobile phone use the researchers found no increased risk of tumours. However, those exposed for the longest time and to the highest levels of radiation showed 50% more chance of developing the tumours. This included people who used mobile phones in rural areas where reception is poorer and mobile phones operate at higher power.

Furthermore, the researchers found that tumours were often located on the same side of the head as was used for mobile phone calls.

The study is not the first to find an association between long-term mobile phone use and brain tumours. The World Health Organisation’s international INTERPHONE project has found an increased risk of gliomas and neurinomas on the same side of the head as used for mobile phone calls for people who had used mobile phones for ten years or more.

(Sadetzki, S et al, Am J Epidemiol Dec 6 2007.)

from 'EMR and Health' Mar 2008, vol 4 no 1