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Not Sure If Cellphones A Health Hazard, Study Finds
Planet Ark
Journalist: Peter Starck
January 27, 2004

Research in the past three years, while mobile phone use has boomed around the world, has failed to determine whether talking on a cellphone is bad for your health, a study showed.

The findings - compiled by the Swedish state Radiation Protection Authority's (SSI) independent expert group on electromagnetic fields - were released on the day Finland's Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone maker, said it expected global handset sales to grow by over 10 percent this year to more than 500 million units.

SSI's study covered international research on exposure to radio frequency fields used by mobile phones and any links with cancer, the blood-brain barrier - a mechanism preventing toxic substances in the blood from entering the brain - and heat shock proteins, which protect the structure of proteins exposed to stress.

"In none of these areas have there been breakthrough results that have warranted firm conclusions in one way or the other," SSI's expert group said in a report.

"None of the available studies has enough power to study the effect of long-term mobile phone use on the risk of developing specific types of brain tumours or other cancers," it said.

Consumer groups and some in the scientific community have expressed concern that the electromagnetic microwave radiation from mobile phones and base stations, which relay signals between phones, could cause headaches, nausea and even tumours.

SSI Director-General Lars-Erik Holm said the study gave no grounds for the agency to revise its recommendation to people worried about potential health hazards associated with mobile phones to reduce their radiation exposure with the help of hands-free devices.

Two weeks ago the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority published a survey showing that 12 cellphone models made by top handset makers such as Nokia, U.S. Motorola and South Korea's Samsung emit radiation well below maximum levels agreed in Europe.

SSI's electromagnetic fields expert group is due to report its findings once a year. Today's report was the group's first.

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