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National report calls for more research on health effects of wireless technologies
Date:1/18/2008

A new National Research Council report chaired by University of Colorado at Boulder Distinguished Professor Frank Barnes calls for a stronger research effort on the potential health effects of exposure to radio frequency energy tied to the global explosion in wireless technology like cell phones, laptops and hand-held Web-surfing gadgets.

Requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from the National Research Council last year, the report was released Jan 16. The authors did not evaluate potential human health effects of radio frequency, or RF, exposure from wireless devices, but rather made recommendations on how to meet research needs regarding the technology, said Barnes, a distinguished professor in the electrical and computer engineering department.

"This is a very, very complex issue," said Barnes. "Obviously we are not seeing immediate short-term effects of such exposure, like people dropping dead on their cell phones. But in the long term -- 10, 20 and 30 years out -- we have a lot less information about potential effects from these types of wireless devices."

The NRC committee chaired by Barnes hosted a three-day conference on the topic last August in Washington, D.C., reviewing scores of studies and hosting testimony by more than a dozen scientists from nine countries. Barnes briefed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C., on the 66-page report earlier this week. The NRC is the main operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Barnes said the committee recommended that future studies pay special attention to the effects of RF energy on children, adolescents, pregnant women and fetuses from exposure to hand-held devices as well as base-station antennas that transmit such signals. Although it is not known whether children are more susceptible, they could conceivably be at greater risk because of their developing tissu
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Contact: Frank Barnes
frank.barnes@colorado.edu
303-492-8225
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

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