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The Smaller The Phone, The Stronger The Rays
The Australian
Journalist: Annabel McGilvray
December 04, 2000

Some of the smallest must-have mobile phones on the market are big on radiation, according to the largest survey yet conducted in Australia.

The new study, which tested 28 mobile handsets, claims the latest Ericsson T28 – touted as "the first true shirt-pocket phone" – can zap its carrier's head with nearly six times the radiation emitted by a Nokia 8850.

"What can happen with the newer phones is, as they get smaller, you're in a situation where the antenna is closer to parts of the body than it was before," said Chris Zombolas, the study's author. Australian electromagnetic-testing company EMC Technologies was commissioned to do the report by Swiss consumer group K-Tip, which claims it is the largest such study to have been conducted in Europe.

Up to 60 per cent of Australians are now believed to regularly use mobile phones, with two million sold in the nine months to September this year.

Young people are the biggest customers, with mobile phones used by three in five Australian 18- to 39-year-olds.

Of the phones surveyed by EMC technician Mr Zombolas, none breached international or domestic safety standards, but radiation levels varied greatly according to the design and power of each model.

"With newer phones, they're very, very small so the antenna is a bit closer, so all parts of the phone are a bit closer. So it's not surprising that you'll get slightly higher results," Mr Zombolas said.

The emissions are measured according to their specific energy absorption rates in watts per kilogram, which calculates the amount of energy absorbed by the user's body.

The effects of such radiation are still largely unknown.

But the Australian Communication Authority says the rate at which energy emissions are absorbed from the handset by the user must not exceed 1.6 watts per kilogram.

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