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Fresh Doubts Over Hands-Free Mobile Phones
Irish Times
November 02, 2000

Mobile phone hands-free kits could be dangerous after all, according to a report published today by the Consumers' Association in Britain.

Research published by the association said the kits can increase radiation at the brain by up to three and a half times in some cases and reduce it in others.

New tests reveal the key factor is the distance between the ear-piece and the mobile phone aerial.

The kits - which many people bought believing they will keep radiation away from their brain - actually work as conductors in some cases. They beam energy directly into the caller's head.

The safe distance can be as narrow as three centimetres, the Consumer Association's study shows, and varies according to the type of phone and the hands-free kit used.

The organisation believes the electronics industry should now conduct research into a type of "earth" which may stop the problem altogether.

The report casts doubt on the British government's verdict that hands-free kits are safe, despite fears radiation from phones may cause brain tumours, depression, multiple sclerosis, genetic disorders and headaches.

"They were unwise to give such categorical advice at that time," said CA research director Helen Parker.

"People should not be relying on hands-free kits as some sort of safety device to reduce radiation to their brain. The most important advice is to reduce the length and number of your calls."

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