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Cellular phones increases the risk of brain cancer

Are Mobile Phones Safe?
IEEE Spectrum
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 causing cancer.

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 guidelines.

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 below.

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 exposure limits.

Controversy continues
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 detail.

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 risk assessment.

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 users."

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 such precautions.


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 2003.

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 link.

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 health risks.

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.


Cell 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 scalp.

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 the head.

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 injury.

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 More Testing
Business Week
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 phones emit.

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 of Medicine.

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 radiation.

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?
Belfast Telegraph
August 11, 2000

Health fears over hands-free mobile phones are expected to be played down by a Government report to be published today.

-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 race.

-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 head

-A dental expert warned that mobile phones can release poisonous mercury from fillings, causing brain damage.


Physicist Joins Mobile Phone Critics
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 said.

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.