There was an interesting and upsetting story from The Telegraph yesterday about a community in the West Midlands (the area around Birmingham in the UK), that claims that a phone mast has cause 14 people to die of cancer and 20 others to have contracted the disease.
Firstly, it is obviously very upsetting to hear of any community that has suffered so many deaths and it must be terrible for the friends and families of those that have died.
But was it caused by the mobile phone mast, or just an unfortunate statistical ‘accident’?
It is true there is a mobile phone mast near the homes of these people, but are there other things that connect them? What age were they? Did they work in a similar industry? It seems too easy to blame the phone mast for these things when there could be other explanations. Without wishing to appear unsympathetic, they could have just been unlucky.
On the other hand, is the financial power of the mobile phone operators suppressing information about the link between your handset and cancer? It’s been proven that smoking DOES cause cancer, but for years the big tobacco companies denied it. It’s possible that in a few years time we’ll have similar admissions from the phone companies.
So who should we believe and what should we do?
Here’s another report from The Telegraph from February this year saying that heavy mobile phone users have a higher risk of mouth cancer.
But here’s Cancer Research UK saying that there is ‘no firm evidence’ of a link.
The Cancer Research article finishes with a sensible message about the potential dangers of mobile phones:
“Remember – the most dangerous thing about mobile phones is that people use them when they are driving! You have 4 times the risk of having an accident if you are talking on the phone when driving – and hands free kits don’t seem to be any safer as far as driving accidents are concerned. “