Prof Rony Seger, a cancer researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and colleagues exposed rat and human cells to electromagnetic radiation at a similar frequency to that emitted by mobiles but at only about one tenth of the power.
After just five minutes the researchers identified the production of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) – natural chemicals that stimulate cell division and growth.
Cancers develop when the body is unable to prevent excessive growth and division of cells in the wrong place.
Prof Seger said yesterday: “The real significance of our findings is that cells are not inert to non-thermal mobile phone radiation.
“We used radiation power levels that were around one tenth of those produced by a normal mobile. The changes we observed were clearly not caused by heating.”
The UK has adopted international safety standards for electromagnetic radiation. These state that the amount of energy absorbed from an electric field or radio wave cannot exceed two watts per kilogram (W/kg) when averaged over 10 grams of tissue. Almost all mobile phones emit less that than one W/kg.
Graham Philips, of Powerwatch, a lobby group that campaigns on mobile phones, masts and powerlines, said: “Current safety guidelines assume health effects from mobiles can occur only when significant heating of body tissue occurs.
“This study shows biological changes in response to low-level mobile phone radiation – something that could have implications for health. Further research is required. However, guidance based purely on thermal effects is clearly out of date.”
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