Mobile Study Railed for Industry Link

The conclusions of a large-scale World Health Organization study into the possible link between mobile phone usage and brain cancer has come under fire for being partly funded by the telecommunications industry.

Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports that the industry stood for nearly 30 percent of the funding of the study, carried out in part by Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute.

Made public on Monday, the researchers concluded that using mobile phones does not increase one’s risk for cancer. Although the result of the study is not being questioned, the funding has spurred accusations of conflict of interest.

Björn Beermann, professor emeritus at the Swedish Medical Products Agency, told Svenska Dagbladet that the credibility of the study plunges in tact with the industry’s funding.

“I don’t doubt that the researchers are honest and don’t sell their soul. But it is not good when WHO research of this type is contaminated by industry money,” he told the newspaper.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) writes, for its part, that the fact that the money first enters the general coffers of the organization before being distributed ensures the “independence” of the researchers.

But, as Svenska Dagbladet points out, industry professionals were allowed to be involved as observers or consultants in study groups that prepared the results for publication.

IARC communications officer Nicolas Gaudin brushes aside the criticism, however, telling the newspaper that industry money never came in direct contact with researchers.

“There is no conflict of interest.”