- An electronics expert has claimed that
some people who use mobile phones heavily have started to develop cancer.
- Researcher Alisdair Phillips made the
claim during a legal hearing brought by scientist Roger Coghill, who is
trying to force retailers to put health warnings on mobile phones.
- Mr Phillips told the court: "I have
received frequent reports from regular phone users telling of headaches,
loss of concentration, skin tingling or burning and twitching.
- "The complaints can involve eye
tics, short-term memory, buzzing in the head at night and other effects
such as tiredness.
- "This is the first time in human
existence that people have wandered around with radiating devices held
close to their bodies.
- "We have got numbers of people that
are now unable to work who have been using mobile phones up to seven or
eight hours a day.
- "A lot of people coming to me have
been heavy users. All have been City traders and British Telecom employees
who are expected to use their phones every day.
- "It is too early to say, but we
are starting to see lymphomas of the neck in heavy phone users."
- Mr Philips told the court: "If someone
is completely healthy and has a strong immune system then mobile-phone
use may well not give them long-term health problems.
- "Some people can smoke for forty
or fifty years and not develop cancer and yet the dangers of smoking are
now generally accepted.
- "It has been repeatedly shown that
a few minutes exposure to cell phone type radiation can transform a 5%
active cancer into a 95% active cancer for the duration of the exposure
and for a short time afterwards."
- Mr Phillips, a consultant advisor on
electromagnetic fields, led a team of investigators examining possible
health dangers in the Kuwait telephone system.
- He said: "I believe there is now
adequate evidence to insist that all mobile phone handsets should be required
to have a suitable warning label."
- He said the warning label would meet
the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act.
- Private prosecution
- Mr Coghill, who runs an independent laboratory
in Pontpool, Gwent, is bringing a private prosecution against a telephone
shop where he bought two phones.
- Mr Coghill is convinced that mobile phones
pose a major health hazard when used for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- He says the mobile phone is the biggest
domestic appliance source of radiation ever invented.
- Mr Coghill has produced evidence that
suggests that radiation from mobile phones can cause headaches, memory
loss and severe damage to the immune system.
- He is on record as saying: "Anyone
who uses a mobile phone for more than 20 minutes at a time needs their
- The court later heard from Dr Christopher
Busby, the UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk.
- Dr Busby compared the energy generated
in the brain when using a mobile phone to "a light bulb being switched
- He said: "I am not surprised when
people say they are getting headaches when they use mobile phones if we
are talking about these levels of density."
- Dr Busby was concerned that the risk
of using mobile phones was not recognised by authorities such as the National
Radiological Protection Board.
- Echoes of the BSE crisis
- He compared the delay in recognising
the risk to the early days of the BSE crisis when scientists said the disease
could not cross the species barrier.
- "There is quite a considerable time
lag involved before these conservative bodies like the National Radiological
Protection Board say `okay we can see there is a risk now'," Dr Busby
told the hearing.
- "But because there is a lag between
exposure to cancer causing agents and the manifestation of cancer this
time lag results in the death of a lot of people."
- Barrister Hugo Charlton, who has been
hired by Mr Coghill to fight his case, said: "Legislation says that
goods should carry instructions or warnings.
- "But at the moment the shop is doing
nothing to warn the public about any risks.
- "We say that a warning against excessive
use would be reasonable in making the product safer."
- Experts from the government's National
Radiological Protection Board are due to give evidence supporting the shop.
- A spokesman said: "There is no firm
evidence of any serious health effects from using mobile phones."
- Magistrates at Abergavenny are due to
spend two days hearing the case.