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Question #: 276

Question: I WOULD LIKE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THE PHYSICS PRINCIPLES REGARDING USE OF MOBILE PHONES AND DEVELOPMENT BRAIN TUMORS. I'VE BEEN THROUGH MANY SITES BUT THEY CAN NEVER GIVE AN EXACT ANSWER. REALLY SOMEONE TUMORS OR DOES IT HAVE DO WITH INTENSITY RADIATION DISTANCE BETWEEN PHONE INDIVIDUAL?

Current Solution

It is not clear that mobile phones do produce brain tumors, or any serious health effects for that matter. A number of epidemiology studies have been almost completely negative on the issue.

See the article I wrote with John Moulder in IEEE Spectrum magazine and also Moulder's FAQ on mobile phones and health.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about the possible mechanisms by which microwave energy such as emitted by cell phones might produce biological effects. The one unequivocal mechanism is the heating of tissue, but mobile phones operate at power levels that are too low to cause noticeable heating in the user. Scientists have speculated about other mechanisms, but these theories remain unproven and many of them have been challenged on biophysical grounds.

Whatever may be the risks or nonrisks of mobile phone radiation, a hands-free kit is an effective way for the user to reduce his or her exposure to radiofrequency energy while using a mobile phone.

Kenneth R. Foster, Professor
Department of Bioengineering
University of Pennsylvania

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