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Radiation Protection for Cell Phone Users



Mobile Phones & Health Report
by Peter Harrison


Many electrical devices around the home or office create electromagnetic fields; TV's, radios, PC's, hairdryers to name a few.

The phenomenon of electromagnetic fields has been known for more than a century, but only relatively recently has speculation about possible effects on human health been made. As a result, there are calls for more information to be made available to customers on this important subject.

Nokia is committed to bringing such information to customers and has an ongoing research sponsorship program in this area. The company is addressing research into mobile phone safety at a global level. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published an 'EMF Research Agenda' listing recommendations for further research needed to enable a better health risk assessment to be made.

Nokia has joined forces with many other leading manufacturers around the world to conduct research within a global framework. The company is also pooling resources to systematically address the WHO recommendations through the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, a global association formed in 1998.

Over the years, a substantial amount of scientific research has been conducted into radio frequency (RF) energy emitted by mobile phones and their base stations. Independent expert panels have reviewed the findings of many hundreds of studies; consistently the conclusions of these reviews are that there is no demonstrated health risk.

- During 2000, the WHO updated its fact sheet with the most recent findings and determined that, 'None of the recent reviews have concluded that exposure to the RF fields from mobile phones or their base stations causes any adverse health consequence.' (Source: WHO Fact Sheet 193, June 2000)

- The United States Food and Drug Administrations agrees and states that, 'The available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any adverse health effects associated with the use of mobile phones.' (Source: US FDA CDRH Consumer Update on Mobile Phones, 20 Oct 1999)Although a large amount of technical data is available there has, until now, been a lack of common, global benchmarks which might prove helpful to bringing meaningful information to customers.

Standardized test methods are now becoming accessible and a new way of making relevant information available began at the end of 2000 with the publication of some technical data.

The aim is to give customers understandable information relating to the exposure levels of their mobile phones. The levels are calculated as the Specific Absorption Rate or SAR, which is a measure of the quantity of radio waves, absorbed by the body.

These latest developments are all about presenting such information in a way that is helpful and meaningful to customers.

Through the industry trade body in the United States - the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) - Nokia has agreed to make SAR values available and to put information, expressed simply, on packaging and within user guides.

During 2001, such information will be more widely available in regions other than the USA as standardized testing methodologies are established. By making SAR information available in a standardized way, customers will be in a position to make informed choices about their mobile phone performance.

The SAR values of individual models of mobile phones will vary, and some will be higher than others.
All Nokia mobile phones are designed to comply with science-based safety standards and recommendations. The industry is viewing the publication of this information as a means to enable informed choice.

Radio frequency energy is an inescapable fact of life. Our homes and offices contain many devices that emit electromagnetic fields. Indeed, sunlight itself is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and, as our chart shows, acts as the divide between non-ionizing energy, which can cause heating and ionizing energy which can cause molecular change.

Mobile phones operate firmly within the non-ionizing part of the spectrum. When radio waves are absorbed by the body, they produce heat energy at low levels that are well understood and very significantly below any adverse heating effect.

Peter Harrison is Nokia Director of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) issues and is current Chairman of the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, a body which co-ordinates research and policy on behalf of all the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers.

In rare instances, claims that mobile phones cause adverse health effects have been made into the subject of legal cases. All of those decided so far by any courts of law worldwide have been dismissed for lack of evidence. Currently, there are two cases ongoing in the USA where Nokia and other defendants have been named. Nokia believes that the allegations made in these cases are without merit and will defend these actions vigorously.

How safe are Mobile Telephones?

At Nokia the safety of our customers is of the utmost importance.

There has been speculation about the safety of mobile phones and their base stations. For example some newspaper articles allege that illness may occur as a result of using a handset or living near a base station.

Accepted scientific fact does not support the allegations of possible links to harmful health effects. In fact a substantial amount of scientific research conducted all over the world over many years, demonstrates that radio signals within established safety levels emitted from mobile telephone and their base stations present no adverse effects to human health.

Nevertheless, at Nokia we are responsive to our customers' concerns about mobile phone safety. That is why through contributing to high quality research programs globally, we support the development of better scientific and public understanding of these issues.

It is also important to note that research findings are reviewed by government agencies, international health organizations and other scientific bodies. These reviews support the scientific conclusion that the radio signals at levels below the limits prescribed by safety standards and recommendations around the world present no adverse effects to human health. All Nokia products fulfill relevant national and international safety standards and limits that are set by public health authorities.


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