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News2010April › Mobile phones could cause cancer, government agencies admit › April 2010

Mobile phones could cause cancer, government agencies admit

The possible health hazards from long-term use of mobile phones are finally being taken seriously by agencies in the UK and USA after years of denials that there was any risk

The possible health hazards from long-term use of mobile phones are finally being taken seriously by agencies in the UK and USA after years of denials that there was any risk. In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now recommending that people use an earpiece or headset with a cell (mobile) phone following reports that "wireless device use can be linked to cancer and other illnesses", while the UK is starting a major study of health problems from long-term use. The FCC's latest set of guidelines represents a huge shift, and for the first time acknowledges that there could be a health danger in using a cell phone. Apart from using an earpiece or headset, it recommends that users should keep phones away from the body, and should not attach them to a belt or leave them in a pocket that's next to the body; users should use the speaker option so that the phone is kept further away from the head; and, wherever, possible, text rather than speak. The FCC also recommends people purchase a phone with a lower SAR (specific absorption rate). The FCC says it has issued the new guidelines following "recent reports by some health and safety interest groups (that) have suggested that wireless device use can be linked to cancer and other illnesses. These questions have become more pressing as more and younger people are using the devices, and for longer periods of time." In the UK, researchers from Imperial College London have been commissioned to carry out a major study into the health hazards of long-term mobile phone use. The study is looking to recruit 250,000 participants aged from 18 to 69 years - although this leaves out the most vulnerable group of young teenagers and adolescents. The Cosmos (Cohort Study on Mobile Communications) research accepts there is no reliable data on long-term use of mobile phones. One researcher said: "We cannot rule out the possibility that mobile phone use causes cancer." (Source: FCC website; Cosmos website: http://www.ukcosmos.org/index.html)


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