After an extensive 11-year report came out squashing the link between mobile phone usage and cancer, a new report from French scientists may turn that on its head.
However, although it may raise a spectre previously thought banished, the emphasis this time is on cancer and heavy use.
In the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine they write that people who used their mobiles for "more than 15 hours each month over five years on average had between two and three times greater risk of developing glioma and meningioma tumours compared with people who rarely used their phones."
The link between glioma - a type of tumour made from gliol cells that account for 80% of all brain tumours - and long term mobile phone use has been hard to prove, but the new study aims to tackle that.
The new study looked at 253 cases of glioma and 194 cases of meningioma from four French departments between 2004 and 2006. They then compared these to 892 healthy people from the same local population.
"The comparison," reported The Guardian, "found a higher risk among those who used their phone intensively, especially among those who used it for their work, such as in sales. The duration of use in this category ranged from between two and 10 years, averaging at five years."
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However, the study also found several inconsistencies such as in the cases of those who used their phones heavily, the tumour occurred in the opposite side to which the phone was held.
Researchers acknowledge that "the observation of potential long-term effects will be needed."
For now, we are better off going by the results of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme which looked at the possible health risks associated with mobile phone technology, reported The Daily Mail. The £13.6 million programme has been jointly funded by the UK government and the telecommunications industry.
Prof David Coggon, chairman of MTHR said: "This independent programme is now complete, and despite exhaustive research, we have found no evidence of risks to health from the radio waves produced by mobile phones or their base stations. Thanks to the research conducted within the programme, we can now be much more confident about the safety of modern telecommunications systems."
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