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Cellphone safety statement from Ministry of Health

( The International Agency for Cancer Research latest rating of possible cancer risk for cellphone use puts cellphones in the same category as coffee, petrol exhaust and pickled vegetables as also being possible causes of cancer.

There remains much debate about the meaning of different cellphone studies looking for harmful effects from their long-term use.

Many of the cellphone studies show no increase in harm, but there are some which suggest the possibility of a small increased brain tumour risk for long term cellphone users.

Many scientists, including the authors of a major international study published in 2010, argue that the findings of these studies are subject to a lot of uncertainty and any apparent risk could well be due to biases in the data. There has been no increase in brain tumour rates since cellphones were first used over twenty years ago.

Most of the studies on which this latest conclusion on cellphone use is based looked at individuals exposed to the radio frequency fields from older technology phones.

The newer generation cellphones – using 3G, XT or CDMA technology – produce much lower exposures to radio frequency fields.

In view of this finding, the Ministry of Health continues to recommend that people concerned about the risks from radio frequency fields from their phone can follow some simple steps to reduce exposures. They are:

Use the phone in places with a good signal strength, which allows the phone to transmit at reduced power. Phones using the newer CDMA, XT or 3G technologies provide greater reductions in power.
Minimise the length of time spent on calls.
Use a conventional landline phone (ie. not cordless) or car kit with an external antenna.
Tests of hands-free kits have generally found that they reduce exposures to the head by up to 98%. To reduce exposure to all parts of the body, the phone should be placed away from the body when making a call.

Media Release on 1 June 2011 from Senior Science Advisor, Martin Gledhill.



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