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Nokia Says Mobile Shields Not Admission Of Risk
Mobile phone companies last night defended their decision to patent shields for protecting users from cancer by insisting the development was "a natural course of business".
Nokia has lodged an application with the United States patent office to patent devices to ward off radiation, while Motorola and Ericsson have reportedly been doing the same during the past eight years in around 25 patents.
One application admits that exposure to radiation, a still-unproven risk to mobile phone users, could lead "to a development of malignant tumour".
In documents seen by the Guardian, the patented Nokia device for "limiting" radiation is described as helping to "restrict the maximum transmitted power . . . of electromagnetic radiation directed towards humans."
Despite the firms' denial of a connection between applying for the patents and any health risks to users, the patents are to be used as evidence in several US lawsuits, including a case against Vodafone.
Christopher Newman, 42, a neurologist, is bringing a pounds 500m case against companies including Motorola after claiming they are responsible for his malignant brain tumour.
The British consumer watch- dog Powerwatch took the news as confirmation that companies were secretly taking seriously the potential health consequences of using mobiles.