By Kenneth R. Foster, University of Pennsylvania &
John E. Moulder, Medical College of Wisconsin
A motorist using a wireless telephone might be worried
about having an accident, even while being reassured
that if one were to happen, he or she could call for
help. Recently some scientists and lay people have expressed
alarm at another possible danger--that the use of mobile
phones itself may harm the user's health, perhaps even
There is good reason to be concerned. The widespread
use of hand-held mobile phones means that many people
routinely place radio frequency (RF) transmitters against
their heads--in some European and Asian countries, a
majority of the adult population does so. That fact
alone would warrant examination of the safety of this
form of radiant energy.
Concern about the possibility of mobile phone's ill
effects on health took shape in mid-1992 in a U.S. court.
A lawsuit filed in Florida by David Reynard alleged
that the use of a cell phone had caused his wife's fatal
brain cancer. The suit was dismissed by a Federal court
in 1995 for lack of valid scientific evidence, and similar
suits since have been no more successful. But they have
raised questions for which no entirely satisfactory
answers existed at the time they were filed. Driven
in part by these disturbing allegations, a new wave
of research in the United States and elsewhere is exploring
possible links between cell phone radiation and cancer.
Brain cancer, the topic of this article, is not the
only health concern, but it dominates public discussion.
Now, nearly eight years after the Reynard suit, a substantial
body exists of pertinent scientific evidence.
Fields and frequency
Wireless communication systems operate at several frequencies
in the electromagnetic spectrum. In the United States,
cell phones operate in two main frequency ranges--the
older systems near 850 MHz, and the newer personal communications
services, or PCS, near 1900 MHz. European mobile phones
use the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM),
a different technology than most U.S. phones, and operate
at slightly different frequencies, near 900 MHz and
1800 MHz. Many other applications transmit energy in
nearby frequency bands.
Energy in this frequency range is called non-ionizing
because the photon energy is insufficient to knock electrons
from atoms in living tissue, a source of serious biological
damage from radiation such as X-rays. The most apparent
biological effects of RF energy at cell phone frequencies
are due to heating. Many mechanisms not due to heating
have been demonstrated, too; but those well enough understood
to be analyzed quantitatively are found to produce observable
effects only at very high exposure levels.
Exposure standards in the United States and most Western
countries are designed to give protection against all
identified hazards of RF energy. At present, these are
associated only with excessive tissue heating, which
is hardly a likely problem with low-powered mobile phones.
Analog hand-held phones radiate 600 mW or less of time
averaged power, and many digital models produce 125
mW. However, most modern phones' output is adaptively
controlled by the base station: the handset constantly
adjusts its power to provide the minimum signal needed
to communicate reliably with the base station.
Research, Old and New
Since World War II, there has been a massive amount
of research on the biological effects of RF energy,
nearly all of it funded by governments. Most of this
research has involved fields at 915 and 2450 MHz, close
to the frequencies used by mobile phones.
But, despite early claims by cell phone makers, little
of this research proves that mobile phones are safe.
Few of the studies on whether RF exposure is dangerous
to animal tissue have involved standard toxicology work--the
sort that a chemical or a pharmaceutical company would
do to gain regulatory approval for a new product. In
addition, little of the research deals specifically
with the kinds of pulse-modulated energy transmitted
by newer generations of digital phones or with the exposure
conditions typical of those produced by cell phones.
The body of research is controversial in several respects.
It includes many reports of biological effects of RF
fields on cells and animals, sometimes at low exposure
levels, which are poorly understood and often not reproducible.
It also includes a scattering of reports of human health
effects from low-level exposure to RF fields. Standards-setting
committees, while acknowledging this research, have
concluded that it provides insufficient basis for exposure
Spurred by the Reynard lawsuit and its attendant publicity,
a new round of studies began in the mid-'90s, largely
funded by mobile phone makers and mainly focused on
carcinogenesis and mobile phones. One notable effort
was the US $27 million Wireless Technology Research
(WTR) program based in Washington, D.C. It was funded
mostly by U.S. phone manufacturers but operated at arm's
length from industry. That effort came to an end in
December 1999 with no official pronouncement and only
a handful of published studies, some of which are discussed
Many other research programs in other countries are
under way, sponsored by either industry or government.
One review of the issue, presented at a meeting in Erice,
Sicily in November 1999, identified more than 200 ongoing
and recently completed studies related to possible health
hazards of RF energy.
Looking for a Link
Identifying links between cancer and environmental exposure
of any kind is surprisingly difficult because of the
absence of a single cause of cancer and for a variety
of other reasons. Even if mobile phones had no connection
to cancer, thousands of users would develop brain cancer
every year, given the hundreds of millions of mobile
phone users around the world and given so-called background
rates of brain cancer (in the United States, it strikes
about six in 100 000 people per year). Identifying an
effect of cell phones against this background of the
disease requires carefully designed studies.
When investigating suspected carcinogens, health agencies
rely mostly on two sorts of studies: epidemiology studies,
which involve statistical analyses of health records,
and standardized tests, made on animals. On neither
front does recent evidence support links between mobile
phones and brain cancer.
In 1996, in the first follow-up study to Reynard's
brain cancer allegations, the health records of more
than 250 000 mobile phone users were reviewed by Kenneth
Rothman, a senior epidemiologist at Epidemiology Research
Institute, in Newton Lower Falls, Mass. This industry-sponsored
WTR study reported no difference in mortality between
the users of hand-held portable phones, where the antenna
is placed close to the head, and mobile cellular phones,
where the antenna is mounted on the vehicle, resulting
in lower RF exposure. In a later, follow-up study, the
same investigators examined the causes of death among
nearly 300,000 mobile phone users (including some from
the previous study) in several U.S. cities. "The
only category of cause of death for which there was
an indication of increasing risk with increasing minutes
of use," the investigators reported in a November
1999 letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
"was motor vehicle collisions."
Other epidemiology studies have been mostly or entirely
negative. In a study that received extensive press coverage
even before it was published, Lennart Hardell and his
colleagues at the Örebro Medical Centre in Örebro,
Sweden, assessed mobile phone use by 209 Swedish brain
tumor patients in comparison to 425 healthy controls.
The study, funded by the Swedish Medical Research Council,
was negative in virtually all respects.
In reporting the study, the lay media focused on one
finding: users of mobile phones who had developed certain
types of brain tumors were more likely to report having
used the phone on the side of the head with the tumor
than on the other side. But the association was weak.
It was not statistically significant and might easily
have been a result of recall bias--a well-established
tendency of subjects to remember exposures to something
more readily if they developed a disease. The brain
cancer patients in Hardell's study knew their diagnosis
before they were asked about their use of mobile phones.
Brain cancer takes years or decades to develop, and
these studies say nothing about future risks. Detecting
small or long-term cancer risks is not an easy task.
Detecting small increases in risk would require large
studies that are hard to control and usually are controversial
in their interpretation. Any valid study would also
have to assess an individual's use of mobile phones
over a decade or more, an assessment complicated by
the rapid technological developments in this industry.
Answers from animal studies
Animal studies, the other main source of information
used in cancer risk assessment, also have not supported
a link between mobile phones and cancer.
Exposing rats to pulse-modulated 837 MHz RF energy,
similar to that emitted by some digital cell phones,
does not cause or promote brain cancer. That was the
finding of a Motorola-funded study designed specifically
to look for brain cancer and reported in a 1999 paper
by W. R. "Ross" Adey, now at the University
of California at Riverside. More recently, in April
2000, Adey reported the same finding for continuous
wave RF, such as that emitted by analog cell phones.
And in a 1999 meeting report, Bernard Zook of George
Washington University in Washington, D.C., confirmed
all of Adey's findings. The other studies in the table
were not focused on brain cancer, but they evaluated
the animals for the disease and would have noted a pronounced
increase in this disease had it occurred.
Animal studies, while easier to control than epidemiology
studies, have uncertain relevance to human health. For
example, former WTR chief George Carlo pointed out to
IEEE Spectrum that none of the animal studies done to
date has adequately mimicked the head-only exposure
of a user of a mobile telephone; rather, the animals
are exposed to whole-body radiation. A countervailing
argument is that whole-body exposures are more likely
to produce toxic effects than partial body exposures.
Issues of this nature involve professional judgment
about which experts routinely disagree.
Exceeding the limits
The focus on mobile phones' health effects has intensified
the scrutiny of exposure to RF energy in the United
States. The FCC limits peak exposure to 1.6 W/kg of
tissue averaged over any single gram of tissue (or 1.6
mW/g). European limits are less restrictive, specifying
1.6 W/kg averaged over 10 grams.
Mobile telephone handsets operate at low power levels,
but the antenna, which radiates about 600 mW for an
analog mobile phone and 125 mW for a digital unit, is
placed very close to the head, which can push exposure
levels close to the regulatory limits. A complicating
factor is that the exposure depends greatly on the exact
position of the handset with respect to the head and
on the exact shape and electrical characteristics of
the head--all variable quantities. Moreover, the exposure
cannot be measured directly in the head of the user,
but has to be estimated by computer models or measurements
in tanks of liquids in the shape of the head.
Manufacturers can reduce exposure by tweaking handset
design, up to a point. Significant reductions in power
create the need for more closely spaced base stations,
which are unpopular with residents in many areas. Moving
antennas and other circuit elements farther from the
user's head might enlarge the handset, which would work
against consumer demands for small phones.
Industry and academic investigators have reported data
showing that mobile phones on the market meet regulatory
limits, by and large. There have been some exceptions,
though. In 1998, the FCC announced that Sony Electronics
Inc. would recall 60 000 cell phones that exceeded FCC
Many areas of contention remain. For instance, in a
1995 study that received wide media attention, Henry
Lai and colleagues at the University of Washington in
Seattle reported exposing rats to RF radiation at an
average whole-body exposure of 1 W/kg of body weight.
The result: breaks in their brain cells' DNA--an indicator
of potential cancer causing effects.
But more recent studies have cast doubts on this finding.
Attempts to confirm Lai's results, by a Motorola-funded
group led by Joseph Roti Roti at Washington University
in St. Louis, were unsuccessful. A Belgian government-funded
group led by Luc Vershaeve has reported that similar
RF exposure to rats does not cause DNA strand breaks
in other types of cells. Moreover, the Washington University
group has identified an experimental artifact that might
have accounted for Lai's positive results. Lai continues
to defend his original studies.
Scientific data can spark public controversies even
before they are published, let alone digested by health
agencies. Take the recent epidemiological study by Joshua
Muscat, a research scientist at the American Health
Foundation in New York City. Results of this WTR funded
study were presented at a scientific meeting in June
1999 but so far they have not been published in any
In a Canadian TV interview four months later, former
WTR chief Carlo, referring to the Muscat study, said
that "those who use wireless phones have a higher
chance of dying from brain cancer" and pointed
to "statistically significant" increases in
some rare subtypes of the disease.
Muscat's own conclusions, though, were more guarded.
In his conference paper abstract, he wrote that his
study "did not find evidence that cell phone use
increases the risk of brain cancer..." though "there
remains some ambiguity" in how to interpret an
apparent increase in one kind of brain cancer. Muscat
told IEEE Spectrum that his research has been submitted
for publication. Until it has been published, his results
cannot be independently evaluated.
Are mobile phones safe?
The epidemiological results, so far, are certainly inconsistent
with any large increase in risk (a doubling or more)
of brain cancer from use of cell phones--the implication
of the original Reynard lawsuit. Nor do the animal studies
show clear-cut carcinogenic effects. However, the epidemiological
studies lack the sensitivity to detect small increases
in risk, and the relevance of animal studies to human
health is uncertain--both familiar problems with carcinogen
In a document posted on the Web in February 2000, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration noted that "There
is currently insufficient scientific basis for concluding
either that wireless communication technologies are
safe or that they pose a [health] risk to millions of
The term "safe" brims with legal, regulatory,
and ethical implications. Health agencies on the whole
shy away from pronouncing technologies safe, but instead
evaluate evidence for possible hazards. For example,
the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),
in Lyon, France, has received about 8 million euros
from the European Commission for a large epidemiological
study of cell phone use in relation to head and neck
cancers. Ten countries will participate in the study,
which is foreseen as including 1500 cases and 1500 healthy
controls. The research is in its pilot phase and is
expected to be completed within three years. But even
with extensive data, IARC virtually never pronounces
an agent to be a "noncarcinogen," and therefore
is unlikely to do so with RF energy.
In contrast, mobile phone manufacturers must prove,
not that their products are safe, but that they meet
exposure limits--a different matter entirely. The standards
that set limits on exposure to energy from phones were
developed largely on the basis of whole-body exposure
data and engineering considerations.
More research is clearly needed on the biological and
biophysical effects of near-field exposure. A better-defined
threshold for hazard might even lead to relaxed exposure
limits for handsets. Most current research is going
on outside the United States. Michael Repacholi, director
of a project on health effects of electromagnetic fields
at the World Health Organization in Geneva, estimates
that there is about $100 million in ongoing research
on possible health effects of mobile telephones, very
little of which is being done within the United States.
But U.S. industry and government have not given up.
In June 2000, the Cellular Telephone Industry Association
(CTIA) and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration announced
an agreement, under which the CTIA would fund a $1 million
research program, with FDA input, on mobile phones and
health. This funding is dwarfed by the huge costs of
toxicology and epidemiology studies; it will pay for
limited follow-up studies to address issues raised by
the WTR program.
Whatever the outcome of the latest generation of studies,
debate over the health effects of mobile phones will
continue. Mobile phones will join other forms of electrical
technology, such as police radar sets, computer display
terminals, and power lines, that have triggered public
fears because of their electromagnetic fields. Such
issues are very difficult and time-consuming to resolve.
How to respond appropriately to public fears, identifying
any real hazard while avoiding unproductive controversy,
is not a purely scientific matter but a question with
deep social aspects.
In a bid to stay ahead of the public debate CTIA recently
revealed that by the end of 2000 its members would begin
including SAR information with new models of phones.
The data and some explanatory language will appear as
a pamphlet inside boxes of new phones, a CTIA spokesperson
told IEEE Spectrum. SAR data is already available at
an FCC website [www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety], but that
site is very difficult to navigate. Even if the CTIA
initiative makes SAR data more easily accessible, it
is is unclear how consumers can make use of the data.
Meanwhile, a mobile phone user with health concerns
has simple remedies: use an external earpiece that keeps
the phone away from the head, decrease phone use, or
avoid using the phones in areas where the signal is
poor--a weak signal from the base station causes modern
handsets to increase their broadcast power. Neither
of us would recommend such measures on health grounds,
but people can decide for themselves whether to take
Journalist: Maria Seminerio
The next time you use your cell phone -- and if you’re
like most business people you see riding planes, trains
and automobiles lately, you’ll probably start
dialing any second now -- think about this:
There have been some 200 studies conducted so far on
the health-safety impact of cell phone use, but none
that purports to examine the impact of long-term use
of the devices. There simply can’t be, yet, after
only a few short years of widespread cell phone adoption
by consumers. What is clear, though, is that more and
more people are getting cell phones: Some 100 million
Americans use them now, and the wireless industry estimates
there could be 1.6 billion users worldwide by 2005.
So does this mean that you and I are the lab rats in
a gigantic cell phone industry experiment? It just might.
While none of the preliminary data proves there is
a cancer risk from the radiation cell phone users are
exposed to, this shouldn’t necessarily make people
feel any better. The early findings also don’t
prove that there isn’t a cancer risk.
It’s not that I’m proposing that people
throw away their cell phones. But just as with many
other consumer products, from cars to cigarettes, the
historical trend has been for big corporations to cover
up and categorically deny any health risks from their
products -- until people started getting hurt. For the
first wireless generation to keep this historical trend
in mind probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, at least
until better scientific data comes in.
Let’s look at the facts so far: The World Health
Organization put out an advisory in June saying people
should consider limiting the length of cell phone calls,
and not allowing children to use the devices at all,
to limit exposure to radiation that may or may not cause
cancer. The advisory was based on the first data from
an ongoing study of users in 10 countries seeking links
between mobile phone radiation and head and neck cancers.
The research won’t be finished, however, until
Meanwhile, a study by Swedish researchers earlier this
year indicated a possible link between cell phone use
and the formation of brain tumors in the areas near
the ears. But this data, the Swedish researchers said,
can’t be viewed as conclusive proof of a cancer
What’s the best way to protect yourself if you’re
a heavy cell phone user now? The WHO advises taking
a common sense approach. Pregnant women and young children
face a higher cancer risk from radiation of all types
(which is why a pregnant woman can’t have dental
X-rays done). So avoiding the devices if you’re
pregnant, and keeping your kids away from them, can’t
hurt, the organization says.
As for other adults who use the devices frequently,
the organization stops short of saying they should definitely
cut down on their use, advising people do so only if
they’re “concerned” about possible
Meanwhile, most of us in this hyper-connected generation,
whether we want to or not, are taking part in the experiment
that will determine once and for all whether cell phone
dependency leads to cancer.
Phones May Damage Nerves In The Scalp
Journalist: Amy Norton
August 15, 2000
As cellular phones become ubiquitous, their status
as a possible health threat--either as a distraction
to drivers or a potential cause of brain tumors--is
gaining more attention. Now, investigators say there
is evidence that cell phones may damage nerves in the
In the current issue of the journal Occupational Medicine,
Australian researchers report on a patient whose cell
phone use appears to have damaged nerves in his scalp.
According to Drs. Bruce Hocking and R. Westerman of
Caulfield General Medical Centre in Victoria, this nerve
injury may explain the scalp pain they have found in
40 cell phone users so far who complain of burning feelings
or dull aches around the ear, the temple, or back of
In this case, the 72-year-old man suffered pain only
on the right side of his head, where he held his cell
phone. He described his symptoms as a persistent "bruised"
feeling that was "on the head," rather than
"in the head." The pain extended from the
right side of his head to his cheek and neck. The investigators
found signs of sensory damage in some nerves in the
right side of man's head, but not on the left.
Hocking told Reuters Health that these findings offer
a "plausible neural basis" for the symptoms
among the 40 cell phone users his team has identified.
In other words, he said, their pain is not just "all
in their minds."
While it is unclear how cell phones might harm scalp
nerves, Hocking noted, it is unlikely that it is the
heat that radiates from the phones. Such thermal effects
have been put up as a possible risk for brain tumors.
If heat were behind this man's scalp pain, Hocking said,
his lifetime of Australian summers would have produced
similar symptoms. Besides, he added, the scalp has a
very efficient cooling system.
Instead of burning the skin, cell phones may somehow
disturb nerve function in the scalp, according to Hocking.
He stressed, however, that this research does not offer
any support to the theory that cell phones contribute
to the formation of brain tumors--a health condition
that would arise from genetic damage, rather than nerve
Hocking and Westerman conclude that "exposure
to the head from mobile phone radiation should be minimized
by using short call times and the use of hands-free
or other devices."
Cell Phones: We Need
Journalist: Norm Alster
Back in the early 1980s, there were 35 researchers
at the Environmental Protection Agency exploring the
biological effects of radiation from cell phones and
other devices. But by 1987, budget cuts had shut the
program down. Since then, the Federal Communications
Commission and the Food & Drug Administration have
regulated wireless communications with a feathery touch.
This hands-off approach no longer seems appropriate.
Despite repeated safety assurances from the cell-phone
industry, scientists keep turning up disturbing signs.
On July 31, a survey of recent safety studies was released
by George L. Carlo, a pathologist and professional research
administrator who ran a $25 million industry-funded
risk investigation. Some studies in the survey--which
appeared on the respected medical Web site Medscape--showed
evidence of gene damage in blood cells exposed to cell-phone
radiation. Others indicated heightened tumor rates in
cell-phone users. ''At the very least, the data say
that claims of absolute safety would be irresponsible,''
declares Carlo, who now runs a for-profit research company
called Health Risk Management Group.
LEGAL ACTION. Carlo's report doesn't prove that cell
phones cause cancer or other diseases. But many experts
echo his concerns. Leif G. Salford, a professor of neurosurgery
at the University of Lund in Sweden, found that microwave
radiation at cell-phone frequencies can weaken the blood-brain
barrier in rats. In May, a British government report
recommended that children not be exposed to mobile phones.
Italy and Switzerland have slashed allowed radiation
emissions from cellular base stations.
Belatedly, the U.S. government is also taking action.
In early June, partly in response to recent studies,
the FDA announced it would help supervise a new industry-sponsored
research program. And in July, the industry announced
plans to provide labels disclosing how much radiation
But for an industry struggling to boost consumer confidence,
these steps may be too little, too late. It is certainly
past time to keep the issue from spilling into the courts.
On Aug. 1, Christopher J. Newman, a 41-year-old neurologist
who developed a brain tumor, sued Motorola Inc. and
several wireless carriers in state court in Baltimore.
The suit alleges that the companies failed to disclose
known radiation hazards from cell-phone use. And lawyer
Peter G. Angelos, who helped win huge settlements against
the asbestos and tobacco industries, told Business Week
he has been approached by several brain-tumor victims.
He won't file suit unless he's ''90% sure'' of victory,
but says he is ''very intensively'' studying this area.
The FDA's participation in a Cooperative Research &
Development Agreement (CRADA) with the cellular industry
is an encouraging step. Unfortunately, the effort is
flawed. It's troubling that the industry is picking
up the bill and will choose which projects receive funding.
With cellular companies adamantly insisting that the
phones are safe, only research that is designed and
funded independently--presumably by the government--would
have full credibility. ''How can [the FDA] claim to
be impartial if they are taking a lot of money from
industry to do research?'' asks Dr. W. Ross Adey, distinguished
professor of physiology at the Loma Linda (Calif.) School
The industry, for its part, finds plenty of fault with
Carlo, the man fanning the latest round of concerns.
Some of the findings he posted last week have not yet
been replicated. And a top researcher in the program
he administered challenges his interpretation of the
brain-tumor data. What's more, Carlo is on disputed
ground in his claim that low levels of radiation alone--as
opposed to heat from the cellular handset--could cause
medical problems. Motorola director of biological research,
Dr. Mays L. Swicord, insists there is no repeatable
or established evidence of biological effects from cell-phone
Henry Lai, research professor of bioengineering at
the University of Washington, disagrees: Looking at
about 200 research papers published since 1996 on the
impact of microwave radiation, he found that 80% of
them reported biological effects. ''These include behavioral
effects on brain function, effects on the immune system,
and genetic effects,'' he says. Lai has also found DNA
damage in rats exposed to microwave radiation at power
levels similar to those produced by cell phones.
Who's right? There isn't enough information yet to
judge. As Sweden's Salford puts it, cell phones constitute
''the world's largest biological experiment ever.''
Only well-designed and supervised science will tell
us whether and how cell phones affect human cells--and
calm consumers' increasingly frayed nerves.
Just How Safe Is Your
Phone To Use?
August 11, 2000
Health fears over hands-free mobile phones are expected
to be played down by a Government report to be published
-A 41-year-old neurologist in the States filed a GBP50
million lawsuit against Motorola last week for damages
following the discovery of a malignant tumour behind
his right ear. Dr Chris Newman's condition is terminal.
-Researchers in Germany found fresh evidence linking
mobile phones with Alzheimer's Disease and multiple
sclerosis. They found using a mobile exposes the brain
to toxins which trigger the illnesses.
-David Blunkett wrote to every school in the country
last month asking teachers to ban children under 16
using a mobile phone except in an emergency.
-His advice followed a report by former Government
chief scientist Sir William Stewart that concluded children
could be more vulnerable to the effects of radiation.
-The Stewart Committee also recommended manufacturers
should be forced to give information on radiation levels
from mobile phones on packaging.
-Mobile phone manufacturers in the US caved in to consumer
pressure and agreed for the first time last month to
disclose radiation levels.
-England manager Kevin Keegan banned his players at
Euro 2000 from using mobile phones.
-A study of the health risks of mobile phones and masts
carried out in Austria found smokers who use mobiles
run a greater risk of developing cancer than non-smokers.
-A study by the National Radiological Protection Board
found that concrete roofs soak up most of the radiation
emitted by masts, dismissing fears children are subjected
to high levels of radiation from masts on top of schools.
-A Polish study found mobile phones can make the heart
-The Consumers' Association published research in April
which showed hands-free kits could actually amplify
the energy and channel it directly into the caller's
-A dental expert warned that mobile phones can release
poisonous mercury from fillings, causing brain damage.
Physicist Joins Mobile
The West Australian
Journalist: David Utting
In August 2000, more warnings are being sounded about
the dangers of mobile phone use. British physicist,
Barrie Trower, says that mobile phones should be used
as infrequently as possible, as it is certain that the
low-level radiation they emit causes physical harm.
He says people who use mobile phones over any length
of time, from five years up, run the risk of contracting
serious diseases such as leukemia and brain tumours.
There is also still doubt as to the level of danger
posed by mobile phone towers, evident in Western Australian
residents' objection to them.
Maryland Man Files $800
Million Cell Phone Suit
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A Maryland man filed an $800 million lawsuit against
a cell phone maker and a telecommunications company,
claiming years of using the wireless devices caused
his brain cancer.
Dr. Chris Newman, 41, of Jarrettsville, Md., brought
the suit against Motorola Inc. and Verizon Communications
on Tuesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has said there
is no evidence that radiation from cellular telephones
poses a health risk. However, the FDA has also said
there is no proof that cell phones are risk-free.
The malignant tumor was discovered in March 1998 behind
Newman's right ear. Newman's attorney, Joanne Suder,
said her client, a neurologist, used wireless phones
at least several times a day between 1992 and 1998.
``Because of the nature of his work he had to be in
touch with patients on a minute-to-minute basis,'' Suder
The suit seeks $100 million in compensatory damages
and $700 million in punitive damages.
Concerns that cellular phones may cause cancer or other
health problems have grown over the past few years.
In June, the FDA announced a partnership with the phone
industry under which about $1 million in studies on
the issue would be conducted.
A trade group for the wireless industry introduced
a new policy last month requiring cell phone makers
to disclose information on radiation levels produced
by their phones.
More than 90 million American now have cell phones,
most of whom began using them in the past five years.
Norman Sandler, a spokesman for Schaumburg, Ill.-based
Motorola, said company officials had not seen the suit
and could not comment. However, similar lawsuits over
the past few years all have been withdrawn by the plaintiffs
or dismissed by the courts, Sandler said.
``We have maintained for years that such assertions
are groundless,'' Sandler said.