Spanish scientists have discovered that mobile phones generate a greater -- potentially harmful -- electric field within human cells than previously thought and that the electric field is actually amplified by the shape of some cells.
Previous research into the effects of radiation on human tissue has been conducted on the assumption that they are cylindrical.
A team at Madrid's University Complutense studied how non-spherical cells react to radiation and found a greater electric field intensity is generated within the cell than in earlier studies. They also discovered that the angle between the cell and the radiation source is crucial and that electric fields are amplified across cell membranes -- a factor not considered before.
Professor Jose Luis Sebastian, who led the researchers, explained that in order to understand the mechanisms that underlie the biological effects caused by electromagnetic radiation it is essential to consider the combined effects of shape and cell interaction.
Last month a UK scientist writing in The Lancet claimed children are at particular risk from electric fields generated within living cells by mobile phones. Dr Gerard Hyland warned that the low-intensity, pulsed radiation used by mobile phones exert subtle non-thermal influences on living organisms, which could also affect a number of brain functions.
There is widespread confusion over the safely of mobile phones. Last Friday the government launched a £7m research program into the issue, but withdrew its previous advice that hands-free mobile phone kits protect against radiation. Recent research by the Consumer Association found that hands-free kits actually increase the amount of radiation a user is exposed to.
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