People react to new inventions in much the same way: a mixture of mistrust, awe and fear. It was the same with electricity and the invention of the car - which both became intrinsically a part of everyday life - and so it was with the mobile phone.
Mobile phones and cancer have been linked for quite some time, chiefly because, as the American-based National Cancer Institute says: "Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held. The amount of radiofrequency energy a cell phone user is exposed to depends on the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone’s antenna and the user, the extent and type of use, and the user’s distance from cell phone towers."
But most cancer charities have said that it is unlikely that there is a link between mobile phone use and cancer. Now, the results of an 11-year study have given backing that mobile phones do not cause cancer.
The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme was the UK’s largest research programme to look 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.
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"When the MTHR programme was set up, there were many scientific uncertainties about possible health risks from mobile phones and related technology," 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."
It also found that there was no evidence that pregnant women who lived near base stations were more likely to have children with leukaemia, which is less surprising as studies by the BMJ in 2010 and a 2011 study from Imperial College London found there to be no link.
Study author Professor Paul Elliott of Imperial College London, said: "People are worried that living near a mobile phone mast might affect their children's health.
"We looked at this question with respect to risk of cancers in young children. We found no pattern to suggest that the children of mums living near a base station during pregnancy had a greater risk of developing cancer than those who lived elsewhere."
As part of the MTHR study, researchers looked at more than 800 people diagnosed with leukaemia between 2003 and 2009.
They were asked about their mobile phone use, together with other risk factors such as smoking history, medical history, occupational history and family medical history.
"The study found no association between regular use of a mobile phone and the risk of leukaemia. There was also no evidence of a trend of increasing risk with the time since a mobile phone was first used, total years of use, cumulative number of calls or cumulative hours of use," the report states.
"Although there was a suggestion of an increased risk of acute myeloid leukaemia with long-term phone use (more than 15 years), this was not statistically significant and appears unlikely to be real, given the normally short latency for this cancer."