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A case–control study on brain tumours included 233 patients aged 20–80 years and alive at the study time. They had histopathologically verified brain tumour and lived in the Uppsala-Örebro region (1994–1996) or the Stockholm region (1995–1996). Two matched controls to each case were selected from the Swedish Population Register. Two hundred and nine cases (90%) and 425 controls (91%) answered the questionnaire. Results are presented for the whole study group, as given here, and for malignant and benign tumours separately. For workers in the chemical industry the odds ratio (OR) was 4.10, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.25–13.4 and laboratory workers OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.16–8.85. Radiotherapy of the head and neck region gave OR 3.61, 95% CI 0.65–19.9. Medical diagnostic X-ray of the same area yielded OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.04–2.58. Work as a physician gave OR 6.00, 95% CI 0.62–57.7. All three cases had worked with fluoroscopy. Ipsilateral (same side) use of a cellular telephone increased the risk of tumours in the temporal, temporoparietal and occipital areas, with OR 2.42, 95% CI 0.97–6.05 (i.e. the anatomical areas with highest exposure to microwaves from a mobile phone).