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VIDEO: Stroke Warning Over Mobile Phone Metal
7:02am 13th November 2013
Medical researchers in Cornwall warn a metal found in mobile phones, laptops and jewellery could double the risk of having a stroke.
Teams at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Truro want more research into how it gets into our bodies.
Strokes are currently the second leading cause of death in the Western world, ranking only second to heart disease.
The research used data from the US based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, analysing information for almost nine thousand people aged between 18 and 74 over a 12 year period.
Higher tungsten levels were found to be strongly associated with an increase in the prevalence of stroke, independent of typical risk factors. Importantly, the findings show that tungsten could be a significant risk factor for stroke in people under the age of 50.
Whilst our current exposure to tungsten is thought to be very low, there has been a significant increase in the demand and supply of the material – which is commonly used in consumer products such as mobile phones and computers, as well as a number of industrial and military products.
During its production, small amounts of the metal can be deposited in the environment, eventually making their way into water systems and onto agricultural land.
Lead author of the research, Dr Jessica Tyrrell, of the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, said: “Whilst currently very low, human exposure to tungsten is set to increase. We’re not yet sure why some members of the population have higher levels of the metal in their make-up, and an important step in understanding and preventing the risks it may pose to health will be to get to the bottom of how it’s ending up in our bodies.”
Another of the paper’s authors, Dr Nicholas Osborne, added “The relationship we’re seeing between tungsten and stroke may only be the tip of the iceberg.
"As numerous new substances make their way into the environment, we’re accumulating a complex ‘chemical cocktail’ in our bodies. Currently we have incredibly limited information on the health effects of individual chemicals and no research has explored how these compounds might interact together to impact human health.”
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