Many studies have been done or are under way into the effects of mobile phones on health, including the relationship between mobile phone use and the risk of brain tumours. So far the research has found that mobile phone users are not at any greater risk of brain cancer than people who don’t use mobile phones. However, the risk has only been assessed for short to medium-term mobile phone use (under 10 years). Long-term mobile phone use has yet to be fully evaluated and this can only occur with the passage of time. Mobile phones use radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RFE). RFE is not known to damage DNA and cannot produce cancer-causing mutations, however it has been suggested that it may increase the rate at which cancer develops. There is concern that RFE produced by mobile phones may affect the brain because mobile phones are usually held close to the head. Among patients with brain cancer, there is some correlation between the side of their head on which they held their mobile phone and the location of brain tumours. Such results do not necessarily establish cause and effect, and are complicated by what is termed ‘recall bias’. Studies of animals exposed to RFE fields found no evidence that RFE causes or promotes brain cancer. If you are concerned about exposure to RFE, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency recommends limiting the duration of mobile telephone calls, using a mobile telephone which does not have the antenna in the handset or using a 'hands-free' attachment.
This page was last updated on: 05 March 2013