The first UK study into the health effects of mobile phones has given them a tentative all clear.
A team of researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research and the universities of Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester found no link between phone use and the growth of glioma, the most common type of brain tumour.
But the researchers admitted that where tumours did occur they were on the side of the head most used to make calls.
"This finding may be due to people with glioma brain tumours linking mobile phone use to the side of the tumour and therefore over reporting the use of a phone on the same side as their tumour," said Patricia McKinney, professor of paediatric epidemiology at Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics. "This results in under reporting use on the opposite side of the head."
However since mobile phones have only been in widespread use since the mid-1990s the report noted that the study had limited data to research. The survey covered 966 people with glioma tumours and a control group of 1,716 volunteers without the tumours.
There had been concern that longer term users who would have had analogue phones in the mid-1980s might be more at risk due to the increased power used at the time.
But being an early adopter of mobile phones has been given a health OK after the study showed no rise in tumours.
However electromagnetic safety pressure group Powerwatch has rejected the findings, insisting that they ignore those who die early from fast growing tumours.
"It our view that this is a highly misleading claim, either through a deliberate and politically motivated attempt to spin the information towards a set goal, or due to incompetent assessment of the results in the report," said director Alasdair Philips.
"As it is, it presents a highly misleading overall picture and may make it harder to get funding to look into causes of high grade gliomas, about which there is still little known.
"We can only hope that the conclusions are down to an incompetent misrepresentation as opposed to a more sinister motivation."
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