One of Australia's leading neurosurgeons has warned about the heavy reliance on mobile phones in today's society.
Dr. Vini Khurana, who is one of the world's top neurosurgeons, says mobile phones could present an even greater threat to human health than smoking and asbestos.
After conducting a 15-month critical review of the link between mobile phones and malignant brain tumours, Dr. Khurana says using mobiles for more than 10 years could more than double the risk of brain cancer.
As a result he has called for "immediate and decisive steps" on the part of the mobile phone industry and governments to reduce people's exposure to the invisible electromagnetic radiation emitted by handsets.
Dr. Khurana also wants a "solid scientific study" conducted which examines heavy mobile phone users over a period of at least 10-15 years.
Dr. Khurana says he suspects the danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking which directly concerns everyone.
He is particularly concerned about the younger generation, including very young children.
Dr. Khurana says because there are 3 billion mobile phone users worldwide, related health issues affect a far greater number of people; they are three times higher than the number of people who smoke and smoking kills some five million globally each year.
Dr. Khurana is a neurosurgeon at Canberra Hospital and an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University and he suggests mobile phone radiation could heat the side of the head and potentially thermoelectrically interact with the brain.
Bluetooth devices and "unshielded" headsets, says Khurana, could "convert the user's head into an effective, potentially self-harming antenna".
Dr. Khurana says there have been increased reports of brain tumours associated with heavy and prolonged mobile phone use, particularly on the same side as the person's "preferred ear" for making calls.
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, has rejected Dr. Khurana's research and say handsets are designed, built and tested to comply with strict science-based guidelines.
The industry says no recent research has found that exposure to the radiofrequency fields from mobile phones and their base stations caused any adverse health consequences.
However the World Health Organisation says further research is needed over a number of years to better assess the health risks.
Some countries in Europe, notably France and Germany, already issue warnings about the use of mobile phones, especially by children.
The research is published on the website brain-surgery.us.