Do Cell Phones Pose Health Risks?

Tests on several of the world's most popular second-generation mobile phone models revealed no health hazards, with radiation levels recorded well below agreed limits, according to data published by a Finnish agency.

Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) was updating research begun in 1999, testing the radiation emission level of mobile phones. The radiation emission level is referred to as specific absorption rate, or SAR.

The SAR of all 12 models tested was almost 50 percent below the level of 2 watts per kilogram agreed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), according to STUK researcher Kari Jokela.

"All models we tested had a maximum SAR of 1.12 watts per kilogram," he says.

SAR measures the amount of power absorbed by the brain. Excessive SAR can cause sickness and even brain damage if the absorption rate exceeds 50 watts per kilogram, according to Jokela.

Put to the Test

Suppliers of the tested models included Motorola, Nokia, Samsung Electronic, Siemens, and Sony-Ericsson Mobile Communications.

STUK plans to test more mobile phones based on the GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) standard in the course of this year.

The agency also aims to begin tests on new 3G mobile phones and base stations next year, when sufficient handsets and simulation equipment are available, according to Jokela.

A Dutch study published last year showed that under certain conditions, radio signals transmitted from 3G base stations could cause headaches and nausea.

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