[LINK] Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Fri Jan 26 13:13:58 AEDT 2007

I have an electronic copy of the article:

  Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries
  Anna Lahkola et al.



The find no significant correlation between cellphone usage and the
incidence of gliomas, except for a subset of people (77) who have been
using cellphones for more than 10 years, on one side of the head, and
who have a glioma on that side.  These figures suggest a 39% increase in
risk of glioma for that subset.

How widespread was GSM before 1996 in Europe?  I would have thought it
was only just being introduced then.  I guess that this subset of people
who said they had been using a cellphone for more than 10 years were
probably not using GSM in those earlier years.

The survey ignores low power cordless and DECT phones.  They distinguish
between "analog" and "digital" phones, but I this is not very helpful.
Part of the problem is interviewing people and trying to discern a
potentially 10 year history of using various kinds of phone, when most
people have little idea or recollection as to whether it was AMPS, GSM,
CDMA, 3G with GSM fall-back etc. - and there are two major flavours of
3G and a variety of radio frequency ranges.

One thing which I think should be considered is GSM phones, which
transmit in 0.577 ms pulses with a 4.615 ms period (~217 Hz).


During most conversations the power is low, assuming the base-station is
not too far away.  However, at times, the transmitter uses full power
and this draws a significant current, also in these brief pulses, from
the battery.  This leads to strong changing magnetic fields.

In the past, I have been able to observe these low frequency (217Hz and
its harmonics 434Hz etc.) simply by holding the GSM phone to the screen
of a CRT monitor, and turning it on.  The magnetic field would deflect
the electron beams so the whole picture shook millimetres or
centimetres.  I tried it now with a 21" Trinitron monitor - the same
phone but a different monitor from what I used in the past - and I
wasn't able to see any effect.

CDMA, 3G and analogue phones would have continual moderate current drain
from the battery.  Only a GSM phone (or a 3G phone falling back to GSM)
would draw these pulses of current and so create both a strong and a
changing magnetic field.  I think this field should not be ignored as a
potential cause of health problems.

Many people now use a flip-out phone, with the antenna an inch or so
away from their head.  Although the whole phone radiates RF, I guess
that this is better than the original single body designs where the
antenna was typically resting against the head.  The low frequency
magnetic field emanation from a GSM phone would be much the same for a
flip-out phone as a single-body one.

I am still using a chunky old GSM Nokia 7110 from 2000, with a wired
microphone and earpiece.  The cable goes through a clip-on ferrite
inductor for Justin - Just In Case.  The phone works fine, and is still
 on its original battery, but I don't use it a lot.

  - Robin

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