The latest research into the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer has proved inconclusive, despite lasting for a decade and costing nearly €20 million.
Backed by the World Health Organisation, the research programme was intended to provide a definitive view on the potential link between phone use and brain tumours, after a number of unrelated studies provided conflicting evidence.
However, while the latest research found suggestions that mobile phone use resulted in an increased risk of the glioma and meningioma brain tumours among users with the highest levels of exposure, the report cautioned that “biases and error prevent a causal interpretation.”
Users classed as having ‘high’ exposure talked for more than 30 minutes on their handsets each day for the past 10 years.
Overall, the report states, “no increase in risk in glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones.”
And some evidence suggests a decreased risk of meningioma for people who had been using phones regularly, in a result the authors acknowledged “makes [the] results difficult to interpret.”
The report was authored by Interphone study group, and organised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and was the largest investigation into the matter to date, costing €19.2 million over the past decade.
It involved sixteen study centres from 13 countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
The report concluded that the results may have been tainted by factors including selection and sampling bias.
However, the report has been criticised because mobile phone companies provided a quarter of the funding, the BBC reports.
Other criticisms stem from the fact that the study relied on self-reporting to determine how often subjects used mobile phones.
An even larger study, involving 250,000 participants over 20-30 years, was last month launched in Europe, partly sponsored by the government's mobile telecommunications health research (MTHR) program.