Motorola denies mobile phone cancer shield claims

US mobile phone maker insists that its patents are only intended to increase phone performance and efficiency, not to prevent brain tumours

Motorola has denied claims that it has been working on secret devices to combat health concerns over mobile phone use.

The company admitted that it is trying to find ways to reduce the amount of radio waves emitted by a mobile phone, but insisted that public concern that the handsets can cause brain tumours was not the driving force behind the work.

A report in The Times on Monday claimed that Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson had each registered a number of patents for "radiation-reducing devices". This despite the mobile industry consistently claiming there was no scientific evidence of any health risk associated with mobile phone use.

These revelations led to claims that the mobile phone makers had been privately aware that their products actually were dangerous, but Motorola was at pains to deny this charges.

"The innovations in the patents referred to in recent media reports address the design, performance and efficiency of our products, and were not motivated by concerns over potential health issues," a Motorola spokesman said. "Any claim to the contrary is a misinterpretation of the facts," he added.

Earlier, Ericsson also refuted the claims made by The Times. Spokesman Michael Westmark insisted that the patents were intended to improve the effectiveness of mobile phones by making them use fewer radio waves. This could potentially increase battery life -- an important consideration as mobile phone makers work on new devices that will run power-hungry applications such as video streaming.

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