Cell Phones and Cancer

20/20 arranged for a leading research laboratory in Europe to conduct tests on five popular cell phone models to determine how much microwave radiation can be absorbed into the head of a cell phone user, depending on how the phones are held. While the cell phone industry has assured consumers for years that cellular phones are completely safe, the industryís former research director has now come forward to say this can no longer be presumed.

The industry had come out and said that there were thousands of studies that proved that wireless phones are safe, and the fact was that there were no studies that were directly relevant.Ý The $200-billion-a-year cell phone industry maintains the devices are safe. What many of the countryís 80 million cell phone users may not know is that cell phones send electromagnetic waves into usersí brains. In fact, every cell phone model sold in the United States has a specific measurement of how much microwave energy from the phone can penetrate the brain.Ý

Depending on how close the cell phone antenna is to the head, as much as 60 percent of the microwave radiation is absorbed by and actually penetrates the area around the head, some reaching an inch to an inch-and-a-half into the brain. This is the first generation that has put relatively high-powered transmitters against the head, day after day. The cell phone industry says every phone it sells is safe and meets government radiation safety limits.

But tests conducted by 20/20 have found that some of the countryís most popular cell phones can ó depending on how theyíre held ó exceed the radiation limit. 20/20 reports that government testing guidelines are so vague that a phone can pass the Federal Communications Commissionís requirements when tested in one position and exceed those maximum levels when held in another position.