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Radiation Damages Lab DNA; European Studies Point To Cellular Harm
from mobile or cellular phones harms the DNA in human cells, according
to an extensive, pan-European laboratory study.
Controversy has raged for years over whether the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones can trigger tumours or Alzheimer's disease, or can otherwise harm human health. But the evidence showing whether and how radiation damages cells, and so might cause disease, has been scant and contradictoryThe most recent news comes from the REFLEX study, a four-year project performed by twelve research groups in seven European countries, whose results were published online this month, although they have not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. "We have found a mechanism that could cause chronic disease," concludes study leader Franz Adlkofer of Verum, a research organization based in Munich, Germany.The team found that levels of radiation equivalent to those from a phone prompted breaks in individual strands of DNA in a variety of human cells. These types of damage have been linked with cancer. The level of injury increased with the intensity of radiation and the length of exposure.
The researchers also saw hints, but not conclusive evidence, of other cell changes, including damage to chromosomes, alterations in the activity of certain genes and a boosted rate of cell division.
Adlkofer says that other research groups might have missed
equivalent harm in their studies because they exposed cells to
radiation for too short a time or used laboratory cell types that are
resistant to damage.Based
on these data, Aldkofer says there is a need for more extensive studies
to test whether mobile phone radiation damages DNA in people, and
whether this is linked to disease. "I urge industry and government to
go forward in this as fast as possible," he says.