Saturday, June 26, 2010

Another Oprah-style myth debunked

Children whose mothers lived close to a mobile phone tower while pregnant did not appear to be at any higher risk of cancer than children whose mothers lived farther away, a new study finds.

British researchers analyzed 1,397 cancer cases in children up to age 4 from 1999 to 2001 in the United Kingdom. Using a national birth registry, they identified 5,588 similar children without cancer.

Next, they compared how far the children's mothers lived from a cell phone tower and the stations' signal strengths. No significant differences were seen between the two groups.

The study was paid for by an independent body set up to provide money for research into the health effects of mobile phones, funded by Britain's department of health and the mobile telecommunications industry. Paul Elliott, the study's lead author, was a member of the body's program management committee. The research was published online Wednesday in the medical journal, BMJ.

"It's reassuring," said Elliott, a professor of epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial College in London. "On the basis of our results, people living near mobile phone stations shouldn't consider moving based on health reasons."

Imagine how many television talk show hours were devoted to promoting this myth.

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