Heath Study Puts Mobile Phones Under The Spotlight Again
Journalist: Jane Hughes
October 17, 1999
THE DIRECTOR of Britain’s leading cancer charity spoke out yesterday to allay fresh fears that mobile phones can cause brain tumors.
Professor Gordon McVie, of the Cancer Research Campaign, said he was unconvinced by the claims of Dr George Carlo, an American expert who claims to have found new evidence of the link between mobile phone usage and brain cancer.
Professor McVie said there was no “conclusive evidence to prove that mobile phones are likely to increase the risk of cancer” and that the charity was waiting for the Department of Health to report on an official British study on mobile phone safety, due in November.
Dr Carlo, a public health scientist based in Washington, was funded to the tune of pounds 15m by mobile phone companies to carry out research into the health risks posed by mobile phones. A staunch industry spokesman until recently, Dr Carlo has written to the heads of the companies to express his frustration at their lack of action since he pointed out, in February, the high incidence of brain cancer in mobile phone users.
The new government working party set up to investigate the effects that mobile phones have on human health has asked Dr Carlo for more information. However, the chairman of the Commons select committee on science and technology, Dr Michael Clark, criticized Dr Carlo last night for “circulating scare stories”.
“It is irresponsible for Dr Carlo to publish his concerns in this way,” he said. “His letter doesn’t give any figures or convincing proof. He should ask for his evidence to be checked by at least two other independent scientific bodies before publicizing it.”
Last month the all-party select committee announced that mobile telephones and cellphone masts do not pose a threat to health, but Dr Clark also called for closer scrutiny by the Government of research carried out by the industry.
Gerard Hyland, a theoretical physicist at the University of Warwick, has also maintained that the signal from digital mobile phones can have an adverse effect on neurological function. No other scientists have been able to support his claims.
But the first comprehensive study of research carried out by scientists from the Institute for Satellite and Mobile Communication showed, earlier this month, that some models of mobile phone expose users to up to 20 times more radiation than others on the market.