Dr. Vini Khurana, a top British neurosurgeon and medical
researcher, is trying ardently to grab people's attention about what he sees as
a grave risk to health. He has published over 30 papers; his specialty --
cell phones and their links to disease. He has reviewed over 100 papers
on the links between cell phones and cancer.
His latest research, currently under peer-review prior to journal publication,
emphasizes a strong
link between cell phones and tumors.
Not one to shirk from using strong language on the topic, Dr. Khurana states
controversially, "Mobile phones could have health consequences far greater
than asbestos and smoking."
The number of users is the first aspect to look at, says Dr. Khurana.
Over 3 billion people worldwide use a cell phone, according to Dr.
Khurana. Only about one billion people worldwide smoke, evidence to his
claims. The smoking population incurs approximately five million
worldwide smoking related deaths a year.
The doctor expresses no uncertainty about whether cell phones cause
cancer. He states emphatically, "there is a significant and
increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain
Government action is a necessity says Dr. Khurana, but he declines to elaborate
on possible measures. The cell phone industry meanwhile scoffs at the
research. Britain's Mobile Operators Association, a major telecomm
collective commented that the new study was "a selective discussion of
scientific literature by one individual."
In the U.S. last September, a research study by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research
Programme indicated that there was no cell phone-cancer link. However,
the normally conservative National Academy of Sciences reporting at the
bequest of the Food and Drug Administration ruled that there was a possible
link, but more research was needed. The National Academy of Sciences
suggested studies on the effects of use on children and pregnant women and a
comparative study of heavy users and the general population.
In February, DailyTech reported in a study appearing in a U.S. medical
journal, which indicated that heavy
cell phone use raised the risk of some tumors as much as 50 percent.
Cancers of the salivary gland in particular were found to be the most commonly
induced type. This study differed in that it looked at the effects of
long term use. Also it was among the first studies to examine cancer
rates in other organs besides the brain.
Many doctors have expressed concern since the 1980s, when cell phones came into
widespread use, that the electromagnetic
radiation from the cell phone transmissions might increase mutation rates,
upping individuals' cancer risk. With evidence mildly supporting such
conclusions mounting, similar concerns have recently been voiced about
Wi-Fi. Sir William Stewart, chairman of Britain's Health Protection
Agency, demanded a thorough investigation of possible cancer/Wi-Fi
correlations, based on the fact that Wi-Fi exposure to electromagnetic fields
is often even more prolific than that from cell phones. Allegedly, some
people are sensitive enough to Wi-Fi that it causes them headaches. The
Austrian Medical Association is lobbying for a countrywide ban on Wi-Fi.
The new research from Dr. Khurana also follows in the conclusions of other
European studies. A study in Finland found that cell phone users of 10
years or more were 40 percent more likely to get a brain tumor on the side of
the head they usually hold their phone. A follow up study in Sweden
indicate this risk to be closer to four times as great.
Cell phone use is currently banned
on planes due to interference dangers, however, most analysts agree that a
national level ban in any industrialized nation is impractical.