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Knesset Still Urges Limiting Use Of Cell Phones
The Jerusalem Post
Journalist: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
July 14, 2005

The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee has not been persuaded that Israeli research designed to asses the risk of cellular phones – by exposing cow's eyes to similar electromagnetic radiation – is applicable to humans. Committee chairman MK Shaul Yahalom has nevertheless advised all cell phone users, and especially children, to limit their conversations and to minimize contact between their heads and their phones.

The committee met on Wednesday to discuss a study by Technion researchers on cow eyes: One of each animals' eyes was exposed to hours of electromagnetic radiation while the other remained untouched as a control. Macroscopic changes were seen in the exposed eyes, but they passed. However, microscopic vascular changes were seen that did not reverse themselves, though they appeared to have no functional effect.

Dr. Levi Schechter, one of the researchers who conducted the study, said the electromagnetic field did not exceed the limits permitted for cellular phones. Unlike previous research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on tissue, this study was not based on temperature changes, as the temperature of the cow eyes was held steady. Still, the eyes were affected.

Dr. Sigal Shritzky of the Health Ministry said that the study did not prove that humans who speak on cell phones are liable to get cataracts. Nevertheless, she said that users were advised not to talk on cellphones for long periods of time. When conversing, the phones should be held at a distance, using earphones. Children are more vulnerable to any possible harm than adults, she said.

MK Chemi Doron said that it took 50 years for researchers to discover that tobacco was deadly. Thus, even before damage from cellular phones is proven, users should be careful not to overuse them. He added that the health authorities should warn users about possible harm.

A representative of the Israel Medical Association who read the Technion study said that it didn't prove anything new or demonstrate that cellular phones causes cataracts. It was conducted on the eyes of dead calves, in lab conditions, and not on humans, he said.

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