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Italian, German Researchers Link RF To Disease
RCR Wireless News
October 25, 2002

As the wireless industry prepares for oral argument in class-action headset and brain-cancer litigation this Friday, it was reminded that the health issue is not about to go away even as one lawsuit after another gets tossed by the courts.

Media outlets here and across the Atlantic were awash last week with stories of a new study linking mobile-phone radiation to cancer growth. The research, first reported by New Scientist magazine, was conducted by cell biologist Fiorenzo Marinelli and other scientists at the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy. According to the article, researchers observed that strong mobile-phone radiation directed at leukemia cells first killed the cancer cells, but eventually caused them to aggressively multiply.

Marinelli did not respond to a request for comment last Thursday.

The mobile-phone industry, pointing to recent court rulings and pronouncements of government health organizations here and overseas, continues to maintain that cell phones are safe. Most health and safety organizations say that while they see no immediate cause for alarm, they cannot guarantee phones are safe and believe more research is needed to double check findings of DNA breaks, genetic damage and other adverse bioeffects that have shown up.

The Marinelli study is not the first to have observed an initial protective or cancer-inhibiting effect from radio-frequency radiation exposure that disappeared with extended exposure.

Earlier this month, a group of German doctors associated with a group named IGUMED said they believe there is a connection between mobile-phone radiation and a rise in a variety of diseases and illnesses in their country. The physicians, among other things called for stricter safety limits and independent research.

The developments come as a newly published Australian study has come under attack from a broad cross section of scientists. The study, which was published shortly before a Baltimore federal judge blocked an $800 million cancer lawsuit from going to trial, was designed to replicate a 1997 study that found an increased likelihood of cancer in lab mice exposed to mobile-phone radiation. The new Australian study did not detect any such link, but newsletter Microwave News this month quotes researchers—some associated with the industry—as saying the experiment did not replicate the earlier study and is highly flawed.

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