Inskip PD, Tarone RE, Hatch EE, Wilcosky TC, et al.

The authors examined the use of cellular telephones in a case-control study of brain tumours conducted between 1994 and 1998. There were 782 cases of brain tumour and 799 controls, matched for age, sex, race, and residence. The controls were patients with non-malignant conditions admitted to the same hospitals as the cases. Exposure was assessed by a personal interview with the subject or by proxy interview, usually with a spouse. The interview was mainly concerned with use of cellular telephones, but information was also obtained about other factors.

There was no evidence that the risk of brain tumour was associated with the use of cellular telephones. The relative risk associated with a cumulative use of a cellular telephone for more than 100 hours, compared with never, or very rarely, using one was 1.0 for all tumours combined. Risks were not higher in those who used their telephones for 60 or more minutes per day or regularly for 5 or more years. There was no evidence that tumours occurred more commonly on the side of the head where the phone was held. Unlike Muscat's study, there was no increased risk for neuroepitheliomas. The risk for this tumour was 0.5, based on 25 cases.

Because of the timing of the study, it is likely that most cellular phones used were of the analogue type rather than the digital type now in common use. However, as the authors point out, digital phones operate at a lower power level than analogue ones, and would not be expected to carry a higher risk. At the time of publication of this study, it was the largest to have examined the relationship between cellular phones and brain tumours. While the results do not support the hypothesis that the recent use of hand-held cellular phones causes brain tumours, the authors caution that their findings are not sufficient to evaluate the risks among long-term, heavy users of cellular phones.

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