A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Once Again, Cell Phones Linked to Tumors

December 1, 2010

The acoustic neuroma story is becoming quite compelling.

Researchers in Tokyo have reported that they too found more of these tumors of the acoustic nerve among long-term cell phone users —the third group to see this link. Those who used cell phones for more than 20 minutes a day for at least five years had three times more acoustic neuromas than expected. The Japanese team also saw a strong suggestion of a dose-response relationship: The longer people used cell phones —both in terms of minutes of daily calls and years of use— the greater their risk.

Reading the new paper published in Bioelectromagnetics, one gets the feeling that Naohito Yamaguchi, the lead author, would have preferred that there be no association, as he and the Japanese Interphone group reported in a separate study four years ago. This time around he and his coworkers at the Tokyo Women's Medical University allow that the risk may in fact be real. "[W]e could not identify any convincing evidence for biases that would entirely explain the observed increase of tumors," they wrote.

Strangely, Yamaguchi does not offer any reasons why the new study points to a risk while his Interphone study did not. (They have different study designs.) And even more peculiar, Yamaguchi does not cite one of the two other papers showing an association between cell phones and acoustic neuroma —he ignores the work of the Hardell group. The third is the combined analysis from five Northern European countries that are part of the 13-country Interphone project.

The Japanese study intensifies the pressure on the Interphone investigators to complete their combined analysis of the acoustic neuroma data before IARC's–RF cancer assessment next May. The acoustic neuroma paper is our priority," Joachim Schüz told Microwave News. Schüz, who now works for IARC, is a member of both the Danish and German Interphone study groups. Elisabeth Cardis, the head of Interphone, would only say that the Interphone acoustic neuroma paper is "under preparation."