Danish Cohort Study20 October 2011 – London – A new study published today in the British Medical Journal(embargoed for 11.30 pm tonight) concludes that mobile phone use does not raise the risk of gettinga brain tumour. But scientists and campaigners both in the UK and across the globe have dismissedthe study as being seriously flawed and offering misleading and false reassurance to the media and public as to the safety of mobile phones.The study – Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study – looked at data on the whole Danish population aged 30 and over and born in Denmark after 1925and subdivided this data into subscribers and non-subscribers of mobile phones before 1995. Thiswas done in order to compare the brain tumour rates within these two groups. The apparentconclusion was that there was no comparative increase in brain tumours among mobile phonesubscribers.Despite this apparently simple and clear-cut conclusion, the Danish study is in fact seriously flawedand misleading according to scientists and campaigners in the UK and the US who have examinedthe data.Firstly, the study implies that it is looking at long-term users (which is crucial when looking at theincidence of brain tumours, given the latency lag of about 30 years), when in fact the maximumconfirmed use period looked at was only seven years and the minimum was as little as one year.Furthermore the study excludes business users who were by far the heaviest users in Denmark inthe 1990’s. This removed those at highest risk of tumours, severely inflating the apparent risk of non-mobile users with whom they were compared. It also included as ‘non-users’ people whostarted using mobiles after the study began. Together, these methods distorted the findings bygreatly diminishing the difference in risk between mobile users and non-users.Such are the flaws in the study that Denis Henshaw, Emeritus Professor of Human RadiationEffects, University of Bristol has stated that he “considers the claims in the study to be worthless”.He goes on to comment that: “The researchers misclassified the 88 per cent of the Danish population who started using a mobile phone after 1995. This seriously flawed study misleads the public and decision makers about the safety of mobile phone use.”Moreover, the researchers themselves have admitted the analysis is flawed. It states in the reportthat: “A limitation of the study is potential misclassification of exposure. Subscription holders whoare not using their phone will erroneously be classified as exposed and people without asubscription but still using a mobile phone will erroneously be classified as unexposed. Because weexcluded corporate subscriptions, mobile phone users who do not have a subscription in their ownname will have been misclassified as unexposed. Also, as data on mobile phone subscriptions wereavailable only until 1995, individuals with a subscription in 1996 or later were classified as non-users.”Epidemiologist Dr Devra Davies of the Environmental Health Trust in the US says the study is notnew, but an extension of a study published by the Danish team two years ago. It was widelycriticised at the time and was not considered by the World Health Organization to be reliable whenthe WHO reviewed the evidence of mobile phone risks and classified phone radiation as a ‘possiblecarcinogen’ in May 2011.