Do mobile phones pose any health hazard?

New Delhi: Do mobile phones pose any health
hazard? There have been a number of scientific studies over
the past two decades with conflicting results, but a majority
of them claim there is hardly any evidence to suggest that the
gadget is unsafe.

These studies were reviewed by scientific committees to
assess overall risks but, till date no adverse health effects
have been established for mobile phone use.

Most recently, a major international study into the link
between cell phone use and two types of brain cancer has
proved inconclusive.

The 10-year-long study by Interphone, coordinated by the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), found that
mobile phone use did not increase the risk of developing
meningioma -- a common and frequently benign tumour or glioma
a rarer but deadlier form of cancer.

There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at
the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a
causal interpretation, the study said and called for further
investigation on the possible effects of long-term heavy use
of mobile phones.

Elisabeth Cardis of the Centre for Research in
Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, who led the study,
said, "We can`t just conclude that there is no effect. There
are indications of a possible increase.

"We`re not sure that it is correct. The indications are
sufficiently strong... to be concerned."

The USD 24-million research, released last month, was
compiled by scientists in 13 countries where they interviewed
12,848 participants.

Another study, published in 2007 by the European
Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly
Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), had also concluded that
"exposure to RF (radiofrequency) fields is unlikely to lead to
an increase in cancer in humans".

According to the World Health Organisation, Mobile phones
are "low-powered radiofrequency transmitters, operating at
frequencies between 450 and 2700 MHz with peak powers in the
range of 0.1 to 2 watts".

The handset only transmits power when it is turned on and
the power falls off rapidly with increasing distance from the

"A person using a mobile phone 30?40 cm away from their
body -- for example when text messaging, accessing the
Internet, or using a `hands free` device -- will, therefore,
have a much lower exposure to radiofrequency fields than
someone holding the handset against their head."

In addition to using "hands-free" devices, which keep
mobile phones away from the head and body during phone calls,
exposure is also reduced by limiting the number and length of
calls, the WHO said.


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