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Mobile Phones Pose Health Risks
Korea Times
Journalist: Kim Tong-hyung
June 05, 2006

Korean professor's study shows potential serious health risks of using cell phones

The amount of radiation emitted by mobile phones could pose serious health risks to users, according to a study released by a local scientist Monday.

Kim Deok-won, a professor from Yonsei University’s college of medicine, said in the study that the extensive use of wireless handsets, using code-division multiple access (CDMA) technology, increased sweat in the hands of users. The reaction to mobile-phone radio waves were found to be more significant among younger people, the study said.

Kim’s research team conducted their experiments on 41 people, 20 of whom were under the age of 18. Twenty-three were male.

The study, published on the Internet version of the U.S. journal Bioelectromagnetics, marks the first time that the biological effects of radio waves produced by CDMA handsets were confirmed by solid data, according to Kim.

"It is the first time to find that the extensive use of CDMA mobile-phones could increase hand sweating," said Kim, adding that the biological reaction to mobile-phone radio waves were more significant among the younger participants of the studies.

"Countries such as Britain and Australia are encouraging young people to reduce their use of mobile-phones, as they consider the health threats caused by extensive use as real. Although Korea has one of the largest wireless markets in the world, the health effects of electromagnetic radiation caused by CDMA phones have not been studied thoroughly," he said.

During the studies, researchers from Kim’s team asked participants to wear earpieces connected to mobile-phones producing 300 milliwatts in electromagnetic waves, the maximum emission level for CDMA handsets, for 15 to 30 minutes.

Although most of the participants showed little differences in blood pressure or breath frequency after they were exposed to the mobile-phone radio waves, the younger participants showed an increase in hand sweating, which returned to normal levels ten minutes after they took the earpieces off. Kim suggested that the increase in sweating could be explained by the weaker immune systems of the bodies of younger people compared to adults.

There was little difference in the reactions between male and female participants.

The existing studies on electronic radiation in mobile-phones were mostly limited to handsets using global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology, the dominant wireless standard in the world except for a few countries such as the United States and South Korea.

All of Korea’s three wireless carriers -- SK Telecom, KT Freetel (KTF) and LG Telecom -- predominately provide CDMA services, making the country among the largest markets for the platform, with nearly four out of five people owning mobile-phones.

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