Mobile phone health risks greater for rural users

May 17 2005

by Reuters

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the fields...

Informant: Sylvie

Mobile phones could pose a higher health risk to rural dwellers because they emit more intense signals in the countryside, Swedish scientists have found.

Base stations tend to be further apart in more remote areas, so the phones compensate with stronger signals.

Professor Lennart Hardell, of University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden said: "We found that the risk of brain tumour was higher for people living in rural areas than in towns."

"The stronger the signal, the higher the risk," he said.

Use of mobile phones has increased rapidly worldwide and there have been concerns the technology causes health problems - ranging from headaches to brain tumours. But there has been no hard evidence to back up these health concerns.

Omega there is hard evidence to back up the health concerns:

Some researchers have suggested that radio frequency fields could interfere with biological systems.

Health officials have urged the public to limit mobile phone use - or to use hands-free devices.

Hardell and his colleagues, who studied 1,429 people with malignant and benign brain tumours, and 1,470 healthy controls living in the centre of Sweden, said the health risks may not be evident until someone has used a mobile for 10 years or more.

Their research is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The scientists found that rural dwellers who had been using a mobile phone for more than three years were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a brain tumour than city dwellers.

The risk quadrupled after more than five years of use.

The researchers questioned both groups about how often they used their mobile phones and for how long. They also looked at whether they lived in the countryside or in towns.

Their findings were adjusted for other environmental factors that might increase the risk of brain tumours.

"We still cannot exclude that there might be other undetected risks in the countryside but we have tried to adjust the results, as far as we know," Hardell said.

He added the study was quite small and that the findings need to be duplicated.


Brain cancer linked to mobile phone use in rural areas: study

Dear Newsdesk,


As a Telephone exchange designer I know that the mobiles/cellphones are designed to increase power when the signal is low.

This has implications in two main situations
1) Rural use of cellphones.
2) In car use of cellphones.

A Car (metal car) is like a faraday cage and the signal from outside finds it harder to get in, but more important the signal inside finds it harder to get out. The phone in this situation is designed to increase the power. The exposure to the user becomes amplified.

Would be interested in a study based on car use.

Regards Donal O'Riordain B.Eng. (Electronics)

Informant: Colette O'Connell




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