Critics of InterPhone Cell Phone Radiation Study Cite Flaws

When the InterPhone Study was published last year, it was touted by many as strong evidence that exposure to <"">cell phone radiation was not associated with brain cancer. But many critics of InterPhone disagree and claim the study is flawed. Some have even asserted that it may have underestimated the true risk of brain cancer from cell phone radiation.

The World Health Organization’s InterPhone Study, which was funded by the telecommunications industry, involved 13,000 people in numerous countries. According to the study’s authors, no increase in risk for glioma or meningioma – types of brain tumors – was observed with the use of mobile phones, although there were suggestions of an increased risk for glioma in people with the highest levels of exposure. They did, however, call for further study of the health effects of cell phone radiation among heavy users.

One of InterPhones biggest critics is the International Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Collaborative, which published a paper last may detailing the study’s flaws. Among other things, the paper points out that data collection for InterPhone ended in 2004, and even now much remains unpublished. Some of the data wasn’t even considered in the InterPhone conclusions. Children were also excluded from the InterPhone study.

According to the lead author of the EMF Collaborative’s paper, “the 5-year-old results are woefully inadequate as a gauge of risk today, as adults and children now speak on cell phones many hours a day, compared with only 2 to 2.5 hours a month at that time.”

The Collaborative also faults InterPhone for looking only at gliomas and meningiomas, and ignoring tumors within the 20 percent of the brain’s volume irradiated by cell phones. Another criticism is that risk wasn’t broken down by sex, which had it been, may have detected a higher risk of meningiomas in women.

The Collaborative also claims the InterPhone study lacks credibility, in part because of its reliance on industry funding:

“The long delay in publishing only partial results, combined with industry funding, has deeply damaged the credibility of the Interphone Study. Millions of dollars/euros have been spent (the greater proportion being public money), and years have been wasted, years when cell phone use exploded.”

The InterPhone study has also been criticized by Joel Moskowitz, director of Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in another paper published last May that InterPhone underestimated the risk of brain cancer from cell phone radiation. “Based upon… analysis by the Interphone investigators, cell phone use may increase gliomas by 12,000 to 21,000 cases per year in the U.S.,” he argues.

He asserts that today, most U.S. cell phone users would fall into the InterPhone Study’s “high risk” category after about 13 years of use. Moskowitz points out that most of the InterPhone data were collected between 2000 and 2004, when people didn’t use their cell phones as much as they do today.

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