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Cell phones "do not increase child cancer risk"

Mobile phones appear not to contribute to the development of brain tumours among children and adolescents, according to an international study with Swiss participation.

This content was published on July 27, 2011 - 21:35
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Concerns persist about the impact of high frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by phones on growing children and young people; studies carried out on adults have so far reached conflicting conclusions.

For the first time research has been carried out on children, adolescents and young people by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

The team, including scientists from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, focused on 352 young people who developed a brain tumour between 2004 and 2008.  Eighty five of the patients, aged seven to 19, came from Switzerland, the authors of the study wrote in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers compared the mobile phone usage of the patients, partly using phone records, with a random control group of 646 people of the same age and sex, living in the same region. They found that the risk of developing a tumour was not higher among mobile phone users.

The type of tumours also indicated that there was no link with mobile phones, according to the study authors: tumors did not appear more frequently on the side of the brain where the patients held their phones.

Despite the fact that Swedish and US figures show there has been no increase in new cases of brain tumors in the past 20 years, the researchers said they could not rule out some minimal increased risk based on their study. 

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