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Association between number of cell phone contracts and brain tumor incidence in nineteen U.S. States


Some concern has arisen about adverse health effects of cell phones, especially the possibility that the low power microwave-frequency signal transmitted by the antennas on handsets might cause brain tumors or accelerate the growth of subclinical tumors. We analyzed data from the Statistical Report: Primary Brain Tumors in the United States, 2000–2004 and 2007 cell phone subscription data from the Governing State and Local Sourcebook. There was a significant correlation between number of cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors in nineteen US states (r = 0.950, P < 0.001). Because increased numbers of both cell phone subscriptions and brain tumors could be due solely to the fact that some states, such as New York, have much larger populations than other states, such as North Dakota, multiple linear regression was performed with number of brain tumors as the dependent variable, cell phone subscriptions, population, mean family income and mean age as independent variables. The effect of cell phone subscriptions was significant (P = 0.017), and independent of the effect of mean family income (P = 0.894), population (P = 0.003) and age (0.499). The very linear relationship between cell phone usage and brain tumor incidence is disturbing and certainly needs further epidemiological evaluation. In the meantime, it would be prudent to limit exposure to all sources of electro-magnetic radiation.

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Correspondence to Steven Lehrer.

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Lehrer, S., Green, S. & Stock, R.G. Association between number of cell phone contracts and brain tumor incidence in nineteen U.S. States. J Neurooncol 101, 505–507 (2011).

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  • Brain tumor
  • Cell phone