The survey by Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority released on Thursday included data from handset makers Nokia, Siemens, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola.

 

The publication comes at a time that global demand for mobile phones is booming, but concern also is rising among consumers and some in the scientific community that mobile phone use can lead to problems ranging from headaches to tumours.

 

Nokia, the world's top player, has forecast 2003 global industry sales of 460 million handsets alone and some of its rivals expect an even higher number. It foresees 1.6 billion mobile subscribers by 2005.

 

All models tested showed the radiation emitted, or the specific absorption rate (SAR), was well below the agreed level in Europe of two watts a kilogramme.

 

Mobile phones are essentially tiny radios that send and receive signals over the airwaves.

 

"What is encouraging is that our tests and those of the manufacturers are largely in line with each other," said Kari Jokela, a researcher at STUK, which sets and verifies radiation safety standards. "All levels are below two watts per kilogramme, and that is very important."

 

The study did not look at possible harmful effects of the radiation.

 

Inconclusive studies

 

Despite worries about possible negative health effects of mobile phone use, various studies over the past few years have proved inconclusive.

 

There is no scientific evidence that second-generation mobile phones cause brain tumours, while a long-term study by the International Agency on Research on Cancer is still underway.

 

A Dutch study released in September did show that radio signals emitted from third-generation mobile base stations can cause headaches and nausea.

 

These base stations, which are the high radio masts which connect to the handsets on the ground, also boosted cognitive functions such as memory and response times.

 

"There are scattered results of some tests showing effects on mobiles and so on, but we still don't have any good evidence that would give cause for worry," Jokela said.

 

Jokela said STUK aimed to test 20 more models this year and by the end of 2004 would have tested over half of all phones commonly used in Finland, one of the world's most mature mobile markets.

 

He said STUK could start testing high-speed 3G phones next year.