Expert warns of mobile phone cancer pandemic

A researcher into the link between mobile phones and cancer yesterday warned of a "brain tumour pandemic".

Presenting the shock findings, Lloyd Morgan, Senior Research Fellow at the US Environmental Health Trust, told delegates at the Annual Bioelectromagnetics Society meeting in Seoul, South Korea, that the risk of brain cancer posed by mobile phones has been underestimated by at least 25 per cent.

Electronic engineer Morgan and his team took a fresh look at data published in a number of papers by the £15 million, decade-long German Interphone study, backed by the World Health Organisation. The research included a paper released in May that claimed mobile phones might actually protect users against the risk of brain tumours.

Criticising design flaws in the earlier research, Morgan said: "What we have discovered indicates there is going to be one hell of a brain tumour pandemic unless people are warned and encouraged to change current cell phone use behaviours.

"Governments should not soft-peddle this critical public health issue but instead rapidly educate citizens on the risks," Morgan warned. "People should hear the message clearly that cell phones should be kept away from one’s head and body at all times.”

However, UK charity Cancer Research dismissed Morgan's findings. Spokesman Ed Yong told the Daily Telegraph: "The majority of studies in people have found no link between mobile phones and cancer, national brain cancer rates have not increased in proportion to skyrocketing phone use and there are still no good consistent explanations for how mobile phones could cause cancer."

The warning over mobile phone use comes as authorities in California agreed legislation that could see retailers forced to display radiation warnings to customers buying mobile phones.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors yesterday voted 10-1 to give preliminary approval to a local law requiring shops to provide information each phone's "specific absorption rate" - a measure of the radiation emissions.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the legislation into law after a ten-day comment period, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.