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National Research Council Calls For Further Studies On Cellphone Radiation
RCR Wireless News
Journalist: Jeffrey Silva
January 18, 2008

A National Research Council report calls for more research into the potential health effects of long-term exposure to radiation emitted by cellphones and other wireless devices, with U.S. scientists anxious to gather more data on any risks posed to children, pregnant women and fetuses by handsets as well as base station antennas.

“Although it is unknown whether children are more susceptible to radio-frequency exposure, they may be at increased risk because of their developing organ and tissue systems,” the NRC stated in a press release. “Additionally, specific absorption rates for children are likely to be higher than for adults, because exposure wavelength is closer to the whole-body resonance frequency for shorter individuals. The current generation of children will also experience a longer period of RF field exposure from mobile-phone use than adults, because they will most likely start using them at an early age. The report notes that several surveys have shown a steep increase in mobile-phone ownership among children, but virtually no relevant studies of human populations at present examine health effects in this population.”

Government health experts in the United Kingdom and France have cautioned on mobile-phone use by children.

Much of the research conducted in the United States and overseas has examined the effects short-term exposure of mobile-phone radiation on healthy adults. The results have been mixed, thereby providing government health officials no definitive indication that cellphones are dangerous to the billions of mobile-phone subscribers around the world. Even so, cellular carriers and manufacturers have been hit with a slew of product liability lawsuits since the early 1990s, when the controversy first caught fire. The mobile-phone industry has not been found liable in any litigation to date, however.

The NAS report, sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was not focused on potential health risks but rather on the current state of research and on how additional studies could further the understanding of how mobile phones interact with human biology.

The NAS noted, for example, that most studies have been based on pull-out linear rod antennas that are held against an individual’s ear. But since newer handsets have recessed, built-in antennas, NAS said additional SAR data are needed. NAS also said that because wireless technology is now used in laptop computers and other devices, the antennas are close to other parts of the body and thus needs to be investigated.

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