Mobile phone cancer scare, unsubstantiated: AMTA

Recent claims by an independent research organisation that mobile phone use can cause health risks including brain cancer and tumors are unsubstantiated and invalidated, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Authority (AMTA) has claimed.

The claims, released by Dr George Carlo of the now disbanded US group Wireless Technology Research (WTR), are creating "unnecessary concerns in the community"," Peter Russell, CEO of AMTA said.

Carlo's research was conducted over the past five years as part of a $US25 million study commissioned by the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA).

The study discovered research including a correlation between brain cancer and use of mobile phones, where rate of death from brain cancer among handheld phone users was higher than the rate of brain cancer death among those who used non-handheld phones that were away from their head as well as increased risk of rare neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain in mobile phone users as compared to people who did not use cell phones.

Consumers should disregard Carlo's research because it has not been validated by any other scientific research or organisation, Russell said.

"Part of a scientific process is that research has to be replicated," Russell said.

"You'd be silly to listen to [invalidated, independent research].

"Our opinion is there are no substantiated risks for people using mobile phones," Russell said, adding that AMTA's view is also supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.

Meanwhile, Allan Horsley, managing director of the Australian Telecommunications User Group neither disagreed nor supported Carlo's claims but urged other research organisations within Australia and throughout the world to consider the research.

"It is absolutely ridiculous to dismiss any of this . . . particularly if it's credible," he said.

"To my understanding the work was done in a professional manner, if that's the case . . .then it is appropriate to take the work seriously and seek to replicate it," Horsley said.

Horsley said the research should be used in ongoing studies into mobile phone health risks underway by the WHO and Australian research organisations.

While Russell is concerned the claims of potential health risks associated with using a mobile phone may have affect adoption rates, Horsley said he expects there to be no affects "at present."

"I don't know that it will affect [subscriber numbers]. People will say 'OK - I've got the message - I'll use it differently',"We'll find ways around it because we will not do without the convenience," he said.

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