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Mobile Phones Pose Health Risk, Israeli Research Finds
January 01, 2002

Hebrew daily “Yediot Ahronot” reports that a special study by the Nahal Soreq Nuclear Research Center is raising deep concern that using cellular phones endangers people's health. 

The report states that cellular telephones do not emit radioactive rays, known to cause cancer, but electromagnetic rays. The research into how electromagnetic rays affect people's health has not yet been completed. Nevertheless, the report states that, "Due to the closeness of the telephone to the body, the exposure level is not minor, particularly compared with other daily exposures (e.g. the TV, computer, microwave antennae, etc.)." 

The radiation level of cellular phones increases in areas with poor reception. Therefore, as the number of antennae increases, radiation from the handset declines. The report specifically states that the level of radiation emitted by cellular companies' antennae is hundreds or thousands of times lower than the exposure level of cellular phone users. This is due to the proximity of the handset to the brain. "The public's main exposure is through the cellular phone," the report unequivocally states. 

The report states, "In recent years, research has shown that the cellular phone has an apparently temporary effect on several factors relating to the functions of the brain, including response time, memory and electrode activity." "High exposure leads to the heating of body tissue and proven biological damage, known as thermal effects," the report continues. 

Celular phones emit various radiation levels, depending on the type of technology used. In other words, the same handset will emit a different level of radiation depending on whether it is used on Partner Communications (Nasdaq: PTNR), Cellcom, Pele-Phone or MIRS Communications' networks. 

The exposure level also depends on the transmission power of the handset, and the phone's angle and distance from the head and body. It is preferable to talk with the antennae pulled out to obtain the highest signal. Handsets with internal antennae have a higher level of radiation. 

The most frustrating part of the report states that "no practical methods exist to measure radiation in Israel." The reason is that Israel has no standard for the radiation level of handsets and no authority responsible for conducting tests on the subject. 

Despite the deep concern over the damage to people's health, no testing of imported handsets is apparently being done. Israel is relying on European Standards Institution approvals, which are not as strict as the US standard. 

In response, Vered Oren, the Standards Institution of Israel spokesperson said, "Standards are formulated when there's demand for them. In this case, the Ministry of Industry and Trade didn't request a standard and a standard was therefore not prepared." Oren said that the institution had started preparing a standard for the radiation levels of cellular phones.

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