Experts Question Findings of New European Study on Brain Tumors in Young People

A new European study finding no brain tumor risk to children who use cell phones has left experts with serious questions about it’s study methods and logic.

Posted on MicrowaveNews.com July 27, 2011 (updated July 28)  

European Study Reports No Brain Tumor Risk Among Young Cell Phone Users

Once Again, the Results Are Confusing


Here’s the golden rule for all cell phone cancer studies: Nothing comes easy.

The first study to look at brain tumors among children and teenagers who have used cell phones came out today and it shows no increased risk. Well, actually, the study, known as CEFALO, does indicate a higher risk —the problem is that it found a higher risk for all the kids who used a phone more than once a week for six months, regardless of how much time they spent on the phone. Because the risk does not go up with more use, the CEFALO team argues that the results argue against a true association.

“The pattern of results looks to me as though there isn’t a causal relationship in term of increased risk with long-term use,” Martin Röösli told Microwave News. Röösli, of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute at the University of Basel, ran the Swiss component of CEFALO. The other participating countries are Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The results were posted today on the Web site of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).

The higher risks seen in CEFALO among 7 to 19 year olds are the opposite of those seen in last year’s Interphone study. Interphone showed a systematic lower risk among all users of cell phones, except for those who were the most highly exposed. Practically no one believes that the protective effect of cell phones seen in Interphone is real. Yet, some observers are not willing to discount the elevated risks seen in CEFALO.

“It’s hard to believe studies that give you such bizarre results,” said Sam Milham. “CEFALO does not have a random distribution of odds ratios [ORs]. If anything, it tells me that there might be a cancer risk.” Milham, the epidemiologist who first linked occupational exposures to EMFs to leukemia some 30 years ago, is the author of Dirty Electricity.