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Netherlands To Re-Examine Mobile Phone Health Risk
Journalist: Andrew Conaway
February 05, 2003

A council that advises the Dutch government on health issues has recommended it take a closer look at the health effects of electromagnetic fields emitted from mobile phones and the base station masts that transmit their signals.

Responding to a request from Parliament for advice on possible health effects of radio-frequency emissions, the Health Council said Tuesday that a large-scale human study should be conducted.

Currently a small study is underway at the semi-private TNO Research Institute, involving people who have complained of health problems they associate with radiation exposure.

The Health Council now recommends that study be expanded into a long-term, large cohort study. It also recommends centralizing and internationalizing the research.

"I think people are uneasy with the lack data on phone use and disease," said Eric van Rongen, who works on the Electromagnetic Field Committee of the Health Council.

"But we don't have a lot of years of study of this issue, just five or six years--that's not a lot."

Last year, a three-year Australian study in mice found that radio emissions from mobile phones did not trigger the growth of tumors. A replication of the study was planned in Italy.

On the other hand, a Finnish study found that the radiation can trigger changes in human cells that might affect the brain

The Netherlands has seen the same explosion in the use of mobile telephones as many parts of the world, especially among teenagers and children.

About 74% of all Dutch people owned at least one mobile telephone in 2001, according to Central Bureau for Statistics' figures.

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