About half the people in the study believed themselves to be “electrosensitive”, reporting symptoms such as headaches and impaired cognitive function from mobile phone use.
But they proved to be unable to tell if they had been exposed to the radiation in the test.
Alasdair Philips is director of Powerwatch, which researches the effects of electromagnetic fields on health.
He said: “The evidence is getting stronger that we should treat these things in a precautionary way.
“This research suggests that if you need to make a phone call in the evening it is much better to use a land line, and don’t have your mobile by your bedside table.”
Mike Dolan, executive director of the Mobile Operators Association, said the study was inconsistent with other research.
He said: “It is really one small piece in a very large scientific jigsaw. It is a very small effect, one researcher likened it to less than the effect you would see from a cup of coffee.”
Last September a major six-year study by the UK Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHRP) concluded that mobile phone use posed no short-term risk to the brain.
However, the researchers said they could not rule out the possibility that long-term use may raise the risk of cancer.
In the UK, mobile services operate within the frequency ranges 872 to 960 MHz, 1710 to 1875 MHz and 1920 to 2170 MHz.
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