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Report Urges More Research Into Cell Phones
Date:1/17/2008

Experts cite a lack of knowledge of health risks posed by long-term use

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- As cell phone technology and use continues to expand and evolve, a new report says not enough is known about the potential health risks associated with long-term exposure to radiofrequency energy.

Placing an emphasis on the health of children, pregnant women and fetuses -- as well as workers subject to high occupational exposure -- the report authors called for more research into risks posed by long-term cell phone use, rather than the more commonly studied short-term risks.

"It's pretty clear that there are no major acute effects from cell phone use that are showing up immediately," said report chairman Frank S. Barnes, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Colorado. "People aren't using their phones and dropping dead. So, the question is, what is happening from long-term use, in various ways?

"We need to know more about exposure over time -- background exposure not just from cell phones, but also TV towers and various other communications systems," Barnes added. "We need to know about the impact of exposure on maintenance people working on cell towers, and what's getting to be the heavy use of cell phones among high school kids, who are different from adults in size and skull thickness. And there are new antennas being used, and people are using not just hand-held phones but wearing them on their belts -- and we need to know what the long-range effects might be on the nervous system. These are some of the questions that need to be answered."

The report, by the National Research Council (NRC), was compiled at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The NRC is the main operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

In preparing the report, NRC committee members first held a t
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