What constitutes heavy mobile phone use?

03 April 2011


Woman speaking on a mobile phone over coffee



Hi there, My mother-in-law has recently become preoccupied with the health risks of mobile phones and has sent links mentioning several studies. The studies not commissioned by phone manufacturers seem to show an increase in the risk of brain cancer from prolonged/heavy use. I would like to understand: What constitutes heavy use nowadays? And how do these risks compare to the risk of other cancers (eg, bowel cancer, breast cancer)? It seems to me that the risk to the individual is still quite tiny - is it really worth altering our behaviour? Thanks very much.


We put this question to Professor Paul Elliott, Imperial College London...

Paul - We ask the mobile phone companies to stratify on their own data that they have and of course this is commercial data. But we have published some data from initial pilot studies that had a distribution of usage from very low, less than 5 minutes, to more than 6 hours a week. So we have a spread right across that range.


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