The alert was raised in the United States of America in 1993, when Larry King, CNN’s famous interviewer, interviewed a man who claimed his wife had been killed by radiation generated by her mobile phone. Soon after this was reported, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the USA’s regulatory organism on food and medicines, launched an enquiry which cost 21.7 million dollars, showing the seriousness of the investigation. Since then, there have been conflicting reports on the effects of mobile phones on the health, which are generally divided in two categories: there is not enough evidence on one hand, and on the other, they cause cancer. This week at the International Conference on Mobile Phones and Health, in Lisbon, Portugal, experts produced various speeches which alarmed Portugal’s 5 million mobile phone users – half the population. Portugal has one of the highest rates of mobile phone use per capita in the world. Olle Johansson, a dermatologist from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, stated that his research has led him to discover that the electromagnetic impulses sent by the antennae of mobile phones cause lesions to the skin and even at one centimetre of depth into the skull, causing cellular malfunction which could lead to cancer of the brain, carotid gland or the acoustic nerve. George Carlo, of the University of Washington, was the expert who led the FDA’s investigation in 1993 and he has no doubt that mobile phones pose a serious risk to the health. He is going to publish his seven years of investigation in a book called “Cellphones : invisible hazards in a wireless age” next week. The Portuguese Professor of Medicine, Gentil Martins, stated that there is no cause for panic if people use their mobiles as little as possible. However, he warned: “We may be facing a process identical to the one in the tobacco companies in the 1960s: they always guaranteed that tobacco caused no harm, until it was discovered that the studies (which proved the contrary) were hidden in desk drawers”.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon

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