Cell phones cause cancer?

These rumors have been flying around for years. Over the past ten years or so (maybe even longer than that), study after study has been released that proves or disproves the assertion that cell phones cause cancer. The latest study has been done in the UK. This is actually an interesting article from BBC News.

The long-term cancer risk of mobile phone use cannot be ruled out, experts have concluded. A major six-year research programme found a "hint" of a higher cancer risk.

But the UK Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHRP) did rule out short-term adverse effects to brain and cell function.

Researchers are now expanding the programme to look at phone use over 10 years, and the specific impact on children, which has not been studied.

Research is a funny business in that if you don't like the result, you either extend out the time of the study until you get the result that you want. Or, you amplify the very small results that you have and hypothesize the results that you really wanted in the first place.

In this article, since the six year data didn't get them their result, the article states things like "Cancers do not normally appear until ten to 15 years after exposure." I also love this quote, "With smoking there was no link of any lung cancer until after ten years." Here is the key passage to the entire article:

The team found that there was a slight excess reporting of brain and acoustic neuroma (ear) cancers. Researchers said this was on the borderline of statistical significance.
Translation: "Borderline of statistical significance" means no statistical significance. So, at this point in time, this study failed to make the connection between cell phone use and cancer. The debate will definitely continue. But for now, feel free to continue using that cell phone! But, please, be careful text messaging while driving.