FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – People who have used cell phones for at least 10 years may have an increased risk of developing a rare brain tumor, according to a study published Wednesday in the international journal Epidemiology.
A team of researchers at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found almost a four-fold increase of the tumors – known as acoustic neuromas – on the side of the head where the phone was most often held.
The work was done as part of the World Health Organization’s cell phone research agenda, and experts in the field said it must be taken seriously and is likely to rekindle consumer worries about the risks of using the phones.
“The Karolinska researchers are respected around the world and this study will force health agencies to take a fresh look at mobile phone risks,” said Louis Slesin, publisher of Microwave News, who has been covering the industry since its early days. “This study should put an end to the industry’s call to stop mobile phone health research.”
At least one past study conducted for the cell phone industry had also suggested a link between the phones and this type of tumor. But cell phone industry officials on Wednesday said the Swedish research is just one study and that no conclusions can be drawn from it.
The study, involving 150 acoustic neuroma patients and 600 healthy people, is one of at least six studies that have investigated possible links between cell phone use and acoustic neuromas. Most of those studies had fewer long-term users than the Karolinska study.