photoSince the days when cell phones were the size of bricks, there has been debate over the safety of these devices, which use radio waves to transmit voice and data.

A number of studies, stretching back more than a decade, have suggested extended cell phone exposure increases the risk of tumors and can harm human reproduction. The industry staunchly defends the safety of mobile phones, saying the studies' conclusions are unfounded.

'Stunning proof'

Now, a group of international researchers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey has released what they call “stunning proof” that confirms findings from the Council of Europe -- pulsed digital signals from cell phones disrupt DNA, impair brain function and lower sperm count.

A meeting convened by Environmental Health Trust, with the Turkish cancer society, and Gazi University, revealed the new research that the scientists say shows damage to DNA, brain and sperm.

Nesrin Seyhan, an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) and NATO and head of the Biophysics Department and Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory at Gazi University in Ankara, presented findings that he says confirm the warning that just four hours of exposure to cell phone radiation disrupts the ability of human brain cells to repair damaged genes.

“We are deeply concerned about what this could mean for public health,” Seyhan said.

Prof. Wilhelm Mosgoeller from the Medical University of Vienna, who has led European research teams, said he found that the cell waves induce DNA breaks. Despite industry claims to the contrary, he says DNA breaks are real.

Insect studies

A research team at the University of Athens said insect studies have demonstrated that acute exposure to GSM (Global System for Mobile) signals brings about DNA fragmentation in insects’ ovarian cells, and consequently a large reduction in the reproductive capacity of the insects. Further studies, they said, demonstrated that long exposures induced cell death to the insects in the study.

Other researchers said throughout a gestation period, exposure to radiation for just six minutes a day affects the bone formation of fetuses. The researchers also worry about the effect of cell phone use on children.

At higher frequencies, children absorb more energy from external radio frequency radiation than adults, because their tissue normally contains a larger number of ions and so has a higher conductivity. The researchers strongly suggest limiting cell phone and cordless phone use by young children and teenagers to the lowest possible level and urgently ban telecom companies from marketing to them.

The researchers call their findings “thought-provoking” and say they have never been investigated in North America.

“The evidence justifies precautionary measures to reduce the risks for everyone of us,” Wosgoeller said.

The meeting was sponsored by Environmental Health Trust, The International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety, Gazi University and Athens University.