|Cell Phone Dangers
20 While the cell phone industry
has assured consumers for years that cellular phones are completely safe,
the industrys former research director has now come forward to say this
can no longer be presumed.
The industry had come out and
said that there were thousands of studies that proved that wireless phones
are safe, and the fact was that there were no studies that were directly
relevant, says Dr. George Carlo.
For the past six years, Carlo ran
the cell phone industrys $25 million research program, which has studied
the effects of microwave radiation from cell phones.
Weve moved into an area where
we now have some direct evidence of possible harm from cellular phones,
Carlo says in an interview with ABCNEWS 20/20.
Although Carlo does not say
that cell phones are unsafe, he does say that more research is needed.
The $200-billion-a-year cell
phone industry maintains the devices are safe.
There is a preponderance of
evidence that there is not a linkage between the use of wireless phones
and health effects, says Thomas Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications
Industry Association, the industrys trade group.
The industry has announced that
it supports and will sponsor follow-up research.
Waves Sent Into Brain
What many of the countrys 80 million cell phone users
may not know is that cell phones send electromagnetic waves into users
brains. In fact, every cell phone model sold in the United States has a
specific measurement of how much microwave energy from the phone can penetrate
Depending on how close the cell
phone antenna is to the head, as much as 60 percent of the microwave radiation
is absorbed by and actually penetrates the area around the head, some reaching
an inch to an inch-and-a-half into the brain.
This is the first generation
that has put relatively high-powered transmitters against the head, day
after day, says Dr. Ross Adey, who has worked for industry and government
for decades studying microwave radiation, and is one of the most respected
scientists in the field.
The cell phone industry says every phone it sells is
safe and meets government radiation safety limits. But tests conducted
by 20/20 and being made public on tonights program have found that
some of the countrys most popular cell phones can depending on how theyre
held exceed the radiation limit.
20/20 reports that government
testing guidelines are so vague that a phone can pass the Federal Communications
Commissions requirements when tested in one position and exceed those
maximum levels when held in another position.
The cell phone industry says
every phone sold in the United States meets the federal safety standard,
and that there is a huge margin of safety built into the standard.
There isnt data to show that
what is happening has a health effect, Wheeler says, adding that there
is no need for Americans to cut back on their cell phone use.
Along with the test results,
the 20/20 story shows how users can significantly reduce their exposure
to microwave radiation from cell phones.
Richard Allyn and Brenda Breslauer contributed to this