EMF Health-effects Research

Cause-specific mortality in cellular telephone users.

Dreyer NA, Loughlin JE, Rothman KJ,

JAMA 282(19):1814-1816, 1999

A survey of standandized mortality rates (from cancer, circulatory diseases, and motor vehicle collisions) of 285,561 analog telephone users with known age, sex, and telephone type, showed that the only catelogy of cause of death for which there was an indication of increasing risk with increasing minutes of phone use was motor vehicle collisions.

Similar results were found for number of telephone calls per day. collision were particularly hazardous (relative risk, 4.8 for calls placed within 5 minutes of the accident, as compared with 1.3 for calls placed more than 15 minutes before the accident; P<0.001); and units that allowed the hands to be free (relative risk, 5.9) offered no safety advantage over hand-held units (relative risk, 3.9; P not significant).

Thirty-nine percent of the drivers called emergency services after the collision, suggesting that having a cellular telephone may have had advantages in the aftermath of an event.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of cellular telephones in motor vehicles is associated with a quadrupling of the risk of a collision during the brief time interval involving a call. Decisions about regulation of such telephones, however, need to take into account the benefits of the technology and the role of individual responsibility.

Please e-mail comments, information and updates to DON MAISCH: