Heavy users of mobile phones

The Age 31 March 08

A top Australian neurosurgeon says the world's heavy reliance on mobile phones could be a greater threat to human health than smoking and even asbestos.

Vini Khurana, who conducted a 15-month "critical review" of the link between mobile phones and malignant brain tumours, said using mobiles for more than 10 years could more than double the risk of brain cancer.

He has called for "immediate and decisive steps" by industry and governments to reduce people's exposure to invisible electromagnetic radiation emitted by handsets.

Dr Khurana also called for a "solid scientific study" observing heavy mobile phone users for a period of at least 10-15 years.

"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children," Dr Khurana said in a research paper published on the website brain-surgery.us .

Dr Khurana, who is a staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital and an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University, said there had been increased reports of brain tumours associated with heavy and prolonged mobile phone use, particularly on the same side as the person's "preferred ear" for making calls.