Cell Phone Radiation
Study: Mobile Phones Affect DNA.
John Blau, IDG News Service
Radio frequency radiation from mobile phones can damage DNA in laboratory
conditions, European researchers say in a recent study.
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The study, called REFLEX, which
stands for Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Energy
Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods, was a
four-year, $4 million-plus research project majority-funded by the European
Union. Results of the research project, which ended in May, were published on
the Internet earlier this month.
"We have proven that electromagnetic fields--in high and low frequencies--damage
cells in individual cell systems," says Franz Adlkofer, executive director of
the Munich-based Verum Foundation for Behavior and Environment, which
coordinated the REFLEX research project. "But these results can't be readily
transferred to human beings. Isolated cell systems are something entirely
different from complete organisms."
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If, however, similar findings are
ever achieved in living organisms such as rats or mice, "then we have a big
problem," Adlkofer says.
More people own mobile phones today than they do fixed-line phones, with the gap
growing larger every year.
After being exposed to electromagnetic fields similar to those produced by
mobile phones, the isolated cells showed a significant rise in single and
double-strand DNA breaks, according to a summary of the final report. The cells
were not always able to repair themselves.
DNA carries genetic information about an organism. It is organized on
chromosomes located in the nucleus of a cell.
For their study, researchers used radiation levels between a SAR (Specific
Absorption Rate) of 0.3 and 2 W/kg (watts per kilogram), according to the
report. Most mobile phones emit radio signals at SAR levels of between 0.5 and 1
SAR is used to measure the rate of radio energy absorbed by body tissue. The SAR
limit recommended by the International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation
Protection is 2 W/kg, according to the group's Web site.
Adlkofer called for further research, in particular into the impact of
electromagnetic fields on mice and rats.
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