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Brain Tumours: the Silent Killer
MSN, June 7, 2004
Charlie Teo a pre-eminent neurosurgeon is at the cutting edge literally
of a 21 per cent increase in children's brain tumours. He's curious
about the effect mobile phones and Electro
Magnetic Radiation [EMR] may be having on these statistics, and has
issued a warning to parents to be aware.
So cautious is Dr Teo, the subject of his 12-year-old daughter having a
mobile phone in their family, he confesses, is a sore point.
"The argument for her having a mobile phone was there are some benefits
of it and that is in emergency situations, but she has promised me she
is a very sensible girl she will use a loudspeaker facility all the
time," he says.
Dr Teo has every right to be nervous; it is his personal belief that
there may be an association between EMR and the development of brain
And while he is not seeking to be alarmist, he does want people to be
more aware, especially with children.
It's a belief backed up by Senator Lyn Allison, who spent a year
listening to the scientists to find out what the risks are. She
discovered there is very good reason to worry.
"We're all a bit awash now in radio frequency and radio waves generally
and we are not altogether sure what effect that has on us,' she says.
Senator Allison says that the fact that brain tumour is now the number
one life-threatening disease for children above leukemia is consistent
with studies in Europe and the UK.
"[These studies show] there has been a 40 per cent across-the-board
increase in the number of brain tumours in the past 20 years," she
explains, "now that 20 years has coincided with the use of mobile phone
and many other radio frequencies..."
And the thickness of a person's skull, according to scientific studies
read by Senator Allison, can also distinguish levels of vulnerability.
"Scientists say that the thickness of the skull in children makes a
difference, it is quite thin compared with adults and there is more
brain fluid which means that the radio frequencies can travel through
the brain more easily," she says.
Dr Teo offers more specific evidence of patients whose tumours
correspond with their use of mobile phones.
"When patients come in with a brain cancer, I often say to them, "your
cancer was on the right side of the brain, it is in the area just above
your ear, can you tell me if you feel that you have had more exposure
than most people to mobile phones," and I am surprised that most people
say, "yes I have used my phone continuously for the last seven years
and it is always stuck to my ear on this side..." well that is where
the cancer is.
Canberra parents Geoff and Denise O'Connell have had their own personal
experience of these statistics. They lost their seven-year-old daughter
Kessia to a brain tumour. Their own research has made them aware of the
risks associated with exposure to EMR.
"I wouldn't move in next to a telecom tower or mobile phone tower and
certainly if there were heavy duty electrical wires I would be very
uncomfortable," says Geoff.
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