The electromagnetic radiation emitted by transmitting cell phone antennas is linked to the occurrence of some types of cancer, according to a study by Brazilian researchers.

The study established a direct link between cancer deaths in Belo Horizonte, the third largest city, with the antennae of the mobile telephone network, reported in Science Hoje site, the news portal of the Brazilian Society for Progress Science (Sociedad Brasileña para el Progreso de la Ciencia.)

The research was conducted by scientists at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil’s southeastern state whose capital is Belo Horizonte.

The results give a warning in a country where, according to the latest data available, at least one person has a cell phone in 82 percent of the residences.

According to the engineer Adilza Condessa Dode, PhD, UFMG researcher and coordinator of the study, repeated exposure of cell phone users to the electromagnetic radiation transmitted by the device and the antennas is not as safe as indicated by other research.

According to the study, more than 81 percent of people who die in Belo Horizonte by specific types of cancer live less than 500 meters away from the 300 identified cell phone antennas in the city.

Scientists found between 1996 and 2006 in Belo Horizonte, a total of 4924 victims within 500 meters and 7191 within 1000 meters died of cancer types that may be caused by electromagnetic radiation, such as tumors in the prostate, breast, lung, kidneys and liver.

After finding on the map nearly 300 points antennas of cellular phone networks in the city, the researcher found that 80 percent of those victims lived within 500 meters away from one of these premises.

According to estimates quoted by the researcher, the level of local radiation in excess of 300 GHz antennas considered maximum under Brazilian law of 2009.

“These levels are already high and dangerous to human health. In the closer you live on an antenna, the greater the contact with the electromagnetic field,” said Dode.

The researcher claims that the antennas of the devices themselves are also dangerous.

“The power emitted by the cell phone is continuous and exacerbated by the position of the antennas that are directed toward the user’s brain,” he said.

The engineer said that the legislation setting emission limits for electromagnetic radiation is not based upon health criteria,  but solely upon industrial, economic and technological criteria.

Dode cited countries such as Switzerland and Italy, with more restrictive laws, and suggested that each Brazilian municipality set limits as it deems appropriate.

“This is a precaution. I think we will succeed only with social mobilization and must wait for a change in the law,” he said.

Until the legislation does guarantee the health of the population, the engineer suggested that consumers just use the phones for emergency calls and to give more preference to text messaging rather than to speaking on their cell phones.

Researcher Dode also recommended the use of a cellular headset to keep the unit away from the body, and to ban the use of mobiles by children and in places such as schools and hospitals. (Xinhua)

[UFMG is one of Brazil’s five largest universities, being the largest federal university. It offers 75 different undergraduate degrees, including an extremely sought-after Medicine degree, more traditional options such as Law and Economics, plus a handful of Engineering and a wide array of Science and Art degrees. It also offers 57 PhD programs, 66 MSc programs, 79 Post-Baccalaureate programs and 38 medical internship programs. In total, UFMG has a population of 37,479 students.]


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