Mobile tumour alert

Wednesday, 29 June, 2005

Alarming results from a study on the long-term effects of mobile phone usage have been published by the Swedish Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) forcing a rethink of technology that has become so embedded in our daily lives.

The study found that ten or more years of mobile phone use doubles the risk of benign tumours on the auditory nerve, and acoustic neuroma which the Acoustic Neuroma Association define as, "a tissue growth that arises on a cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear".

This leads to a reduction of hearing in one ear, and is often accompanied by ear noise or tinnitus. With worrying statistics such as these and an ever increasing reliance on the mobile phone in today's busy world, it may be time to start looking for alternatives. This is especially true for those whose jobs rely on using mobile phones day in and day out - therefore heightening the risk of a tumour.

One such solution that is gaining momentum among business in Australia and around the world, is an innovative product called a Fixed Cellular Terminal (FCT), developed by Swedish company Ericsson. When using a mobile phone, the antenna transmits up to two watts of power next to your head. The FCT however, is mounted on a wall some distance away and the link is via a telephone system, completely eliminating the health risks associated with mobile phones. A spokesperson for IMM says research shows that, "the risk of acoustic neuroma was almost doubled for persons who started to use their mobile phone at least ten years prior to diagnosis".

"When the side of the head on which the phone was usually held was taken into consideration, we found that the risk of acoustic neuroma was almost four times higher on the same side as the phone was held, and virtually normal on the other side," the institute added.

While non-cancerous, acoustic neuroma tumours can grow to sizes where they put pressure on the brain and become life threatening if not removed.

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