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

hree-day workshop last August. The meeting brought together experts from the United States and nine other countries in an effort to identify unexplored or under-explored questions on the long-term impact of cell phone use.

The subsequent report, released Thursday, doesn't evaluate the health impact of cell phone use or radiofrequency (RF) energy, nor does it suggest exactly how identified gaps in critical research should be filled.

Instead, the report is designed to serve as a kind of guide for future research, the authors said.

Among a wide range of suggestions, the report calls for new studies in the form of either full-scale human trials or human-and-animal lab work to explore the potential health effects associated with:

  • long-term exposure to all wireless devices -- such as cell phones, wireless personal computers, and base station antennas -- with particular attention to children, pregnant women and fetuses;
  • the rapid expansion of wireless networks and the accompanying increase in the number of base station antennas and electromagnetic fields;
  • the changing character of hand-held cell phone antenna design;
  • the changing way in which cell phones are being used, with the widespread adoption of texting, e-mailing, and Bluetooth technology exposing more parts of the body to radiofrequency energy.

The report also suggests more research into possible links between long-term radiofrequency exposure and brain cancer and neural or cognitive complications.

"We just don't have the kind of data that says what 10-, 20-, 30-year exposure is going to do," Barnes said. "It's hard data to get, and there are many confounding factors, so it's just going to take time. But I think this report accurately highlights difficult questions that merit answering to help illuminate problems, if they turn out to exist."

Dr. Jonathan Fellows, a neurologist at Beaumont Hos
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