Lennart Hardell’s interim report

In his report Hardell informs us on the overall status of epidemiological studies and the progress of his study, which is supported by the Pandora Foundation. 

Use of wireless phones (mobile phones and cordless phones) and the risk for brain tumours – a case-control study.

2012-09-24. The most comprehensive results on use of wireless phones and the increased risk for brain tumours come from the Hardell group in Sweden and the international Interphone study. Other studies are mostly too small with short time for use of mobile phones, usually in the range of at most 5 years, to be informative. Both the Hardell group studies and Interphone give results for use of 10 years or more. A summary evaluation based on these results shows that there is a consistent pattern of increased risk of brain tumours (glioma and acoustic neuroma) associated with use of mobile phones and cordless phones. Supportive evidence comes also from anatomical localisation of the tumour to the most exposed area of the brain, and the risk increasing with number of use in hours and years.

However, it is remarkable that the IARC (WHO) carcinogenic classification of microwave emissions from wireless phones as Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) does not seem to have had any significant impact on governments’ perceptions of their responsibilities to protect public health from this widespread source of radiation, especially given the ease with which exposures can be reduced (i.e. texting, hands-free devices and better phone design).

Consequently more research is necessary on human health effects, especially regarding long-term health effects. Our current on-going study is such an example. It will give information on long-term use, more than 20 years of wireless phones use, and the risk fro brain tumours. There is currently no information available on such long-term health effects. It will also give information about risks in different age groups at first use of wireless phones which is of importance given the widespread use among children and adolescents. According to our previous studies, those under the age of 20 at first exposure to wireless phones have a higher risk for developing brain tumours compared to those who started at an older age.

We are most grateful for the € 18000,00 that we have received from the Pandora Foundation so far. This has made it possible for us to continue our research. We have by now checked and finished the database for statistical analysis. The study is large. It includes 1405 patients (response rate 88 %) and 1363 population based controls (response rate 85 %) for analysis. Of the 1405 cases 593 have a malignant and 814 a benign brain tumour. Most of the malignant brain tumours are of the glioma type. Meningioma dominates among the benign tumours. Most of the tumours are located in the areas of the brain most exposed to microwaves from wireless phones, 35 % in the frontal brain lobe and 29 % in the temporal brain lobe, in total 64 %. If the tumours that also grow into adjacent locations (mostly large tumours) are included the number is 78 %.

We expect to have the analyses regarding use of mobile and cordless phones finished this autumn or early next year and the results will be published in the middle of 2013 in case we get additional funding from Pandora Foundation. There are also numerous other risk factors for brain tumours that we study including a potential interaction between such risk factors and exposure to microwaves from wireless phones.

Thus, continuing support from Pandora Foundation is most important to finish this study. Of course it can not be completed in due time without financial support. We acknowledge the support that we have received so far and that has enabled considerable progress of the study.

With kind regards,
Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD