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No link between child cancers and mobile towers
Published on 23 Jun. 2010 11:45 PM IST
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There is no link between risk of early childhood cancers and a mother’s exposure to mobile phone towers during pregnancy, concludes a study.
Use of mobile phones has increased markedly in recent years and questions have been raised about its possible health effects, including cancer, especially after prolonged use. Surveys also indicate high levels of public concern about the potential risks of living near mobile phone towers.
Previous reports of apparent cancer clusters near mobile phone base stations are difficult to interpret due to small numbers and possible biases that could have affected the results. Also, any radiobiological explanation for such cancer excesses is lacking.
So researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) set out to investigate the risk of early childhood cancers, such as brain tumours and leukaemia, and proximity to a mobile phone base station during pregnancy. They identified 1,397 children aged 0-4 years registered with leukaemia or a tumour in the brain or central nervous system between 1999 and 2001.
Each case was matched to four controls from the national birth register. Data on all mobile phone base station antennas across Britain from 1996-2001 were also obtained.
Birth address was then used to estimate distance (in metres) from the nearest mobile phone base station, total power output for base stations within 700 metres of birth address and power density for base stations within 1,400 metres of birth address.
The researchers found no association between cancer risk in young children and mobile phone base station exposures during pregnancy, said an ICL release.
The authors acknowledge that their focus was early childhood cancers and therefore did not include longer term or other potential health effects that have been associated with mobile phone use.

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