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Wireless Phones-Brain Cancer Link to Get U.S. Review

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 04/07/2006

Wireless Phones-Brain Cancer Link to Get U.S. Review

April 6 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to review the health effects of wireless phones after a recent analysis of research suggested long-term use may be linked to a risk of brain cancer.

The agency will hold a meeting to evaluate data on health risks associated with cordless and cell phones, the FDA said today in a statement on its Web site. The agency didn't specify a date.

The FDA plans to address decade-long concerns that radio- frequency energy from wireless phones may have harmful effects on health, including brain tumors. The number of cell-phone users in the U.S. surged to 208 million last year from 340,213 in 1985, when wireless networks were first being built, according to CTIA - The Wireless Association.

"I'm talking to you now without an earpiece," said Les Funtleyder, an analyst with Miller Tabak & Co. who follows the FDA along with health stocks, in a telephone interview. "If the FDA really finds something, look out Motorola. The FDA is being particularly cautious."

U.S. regulators said a recently published analysis of two Swedish studies, one in 2003 and another in 2005, reported an increased risk of brain tumors linked to use of wireless phones over more than 10 years. The findings were inconsistent with earlier studies and difficult to interpret, the FDA said in its statement.

"The Swedish analysis is of data that has previously been reported," said Norman Sandler, a spokesman for Schaumberg, Illinois-based Motorola. "It's not based on new data."

Research Gaps

The meeting will "evaluate research conducted to date and identify gaps in knowledge that warrant additional research," the FDA said.

No scientific evidence shows that use of wireless phones can cause health problems or that they are absolutely safe, the FDA said. Wireless phones emit low levels of radio-frequency energy while in use and in stand-by mode, which hasn't been shown to be dangerous, the FDA said. High levels of radio-frequency energy can heat and damage body tissues.

"The outcomes (of numerous studies conducted over the past several years) are very mixed," Verizon Wireless Chief Technology Officer Dick Lynch said today in an interview at the CTIA Wireless 2006 trade show in Las Vegas. "The general consensus has been that there hasn't been a link that has stood up for peer review."

Last year, the wireless-device industry generated $113.5 billion of revenue as usage time exceeded 1.4 trillion minutes, according to the CTIA.

Nokia Oyj, based in Espoo, Finland, is the world's largest maker of mobile phones, followed by Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., based in Suwon, South Korea.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Zimm in Boston at
Last Updated: April 6, 2006 19:39 EDT

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