Study: Short-Term Mobile Phone Use Not Linked to Cancer, Hazardous to Driving

A large U.K. study failed to link cell phones to specific health risks, but found that driving while talking, even on a hands-free phones, is hazardous.

The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) program released the findings Wednesday as part of its 2007 report. The program based its conclusions on a total of 23 studies on the subject, all of which were reported in peer review journals, according to study author Lawrie Challis.

The six-year research program, conducted by Challis, a retired professor of physics at the University of Nottingham, and other researchers has found no association between short-term (less than 10 years) mobile phone use and brain cancer.

Studies on volunteers also showed no evidence that brain function was affected by mobile phone signals.

The question as to whether long-term exposure could be hazardous to users' health is less clear as studies have so far only included a limited number of participants who have used their phones for 10 years or more, the committee said in a news release.

“The results are so far reassuring, but there is still a need for more research, especially to check that no effects emerge from longer-term phone use from adults and from use by children,” Challis said.

Additional studies also confirmed that the use of a mobile phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, causes impairment to performance comparable to that from other in-car distractions. There are, however, indications that the demand on cognitive resources from mobile phones may be greater.