Sweden plays down cell phone risk

Swedish scientists say mobile phones do not pose a health risk, though a government report wants more research and information made more readily available.

    No risk is known as yet, but more evidence may turn up

    The government commissioned report revealed on Monday that cell phones cannot be linked to certain types of cancer or damage to the blood-brain-barrier - which protects against toxins circulating in blood vessels.

    The investigation was carried out by the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI) in cooperation with several other government agencies and research groups.

    More work needed

    However the report did point out that researchers have not been working on the issue for long and new evidence could still surface.

    "More research is needed to address long-term exposure, as well as diseases other than those included in the ongoing case-control studies," SSI stated in the report.

    "Given the increase of new technologies, it is essential to follow various possible health effects from the very beginning, particularly since such effects may be detected only after a long duration, due to the prolonged latency period of many chronic diseases."

    Study suggestions

    Due to the uncertainty and the public concern surrounding the issue of cell phone radiation, SSI suggested that the Swedish government cooperate with industry players.

    "More research is needed to address long-term exposure, as well as diseases other than those included in the ongoing case-control studies"

    Swedish Radiation Protection Authority report

    The two main suggestions were to launch a public awareness campaign on possible risks linked to cell phone use, and on how people can protect themselves against them.

    One of the first things the industry should do, the report states, is push the use of so-called "hands free" equipment, which greatly reduces exposure to cell phone radiation.

    Transmission tower concerns

    The SSI report also addressed radiation from mobile transmission towers, which has recently been the subject of concern in many countries around the world.

    "A person who is talking on a cell phone is exposed to substantially stronger radio signals from their own radio signals than from the transmitter tower.

    "While these transmission towers do expel stronger radio signals than cell phones, they are situated further away from the user," the report concluded.



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