- Scientists have doubts about the safety
of mobile phones. Radiation from mobile phones can severely damage the
human immune system, a scientist has now claimed.
- Biologist Roger Coghill has long campaigned
for health warnings to be attached to mobile phones, which he has already
linked to headaches and memory loss.
- His latest research suggests the microwaves
generated by mobile phones may damage the ability of white blood cells
to act as the "policemen" of the body, fighting off infection
- Mr Coghill took white blood cells, known
as lymphocytes, from a donor, keeping them alive with nutritients and exposed
them to different electric fields.
- He found that after seven-and-a-half
hours, just 13% of the cells exposed to mobile phone radiation remained
intact and able to function, compared with 70% of cells exposed only to
the natural electromagnetic field produced by the human body.
- Body's balance is upset
- Mr Coghill claims the body's immune system
is partially controlled by electromagnetic fields emitted by the body.
He believes the radiation emitted by mobile phones damages the body's own
electromagnetic fields, and undermines the proper functioning of the immune
- Mr Coghill has launched a legal test
case against a mobile phone shop for allegedly failing to warn customers
of the potential risk of radiation.
- The industry is worth a £14bn a
year in Britain alone.
- Industry attacks findings
- Mr Coghill was criticised by a leading
industry figure for not announcing his findings before they had been reviewed
by experts and published in a recognised scientific journal.
- Tom Wills-Sandford, director of the Federation
of the Electronics Industry, which represents mobile phone manufacturers,
said: "None of the proper scientific protocol has been followed.
- "This is not a proper way to conduct
science, and one wonders if these results will ever be published properly."
- Mr Wills-Sandford said an enormous amount
of research had been carried out into the safety of mobile phones but none
had produced any real evidence of a risk to health.
- 'Scientifically sound'
- But Mr Coghill, who spoke at a conference
on mobile phone safety in London on Thursday, insisted that his results
were scientifically sound and should not be ignored.
- He said: "We found that the competence
of these white blood cells was depleted after being exposed for seven or
eight hours to a mobile phone on standby.
- "There's a possibility that we are
damaging lymphocyte performance simply by having these phones on standby
next to our bodies."
- Mr Coghill said there was no danger in
using mobile phones for two or three minutes.
- But people who left them on for 20 minutes
or more could be doing themselves harm.
- If even 5% of the estimated 10 million
users left their phones switched on it would mean 500,000 people were at
risk, he said.
- Mr Coghill said: "What I'm asking
for is that the industry recognises that and puts warning labels on their
- He said a paper on his findings was accepted
for inclusion at a major scientific meeting in Florida, USA, in June.
- He was also going to be forwarding the
results to a recognised journal and co-operating with other scientists
trying to replicate the findings.
- A spokesman for the National Radiological
Protection Board, the radiation watchdog, said: "We have no comment
to make on the claims made by Roger Coghill. If his work is published in
a scientific journal it will be reviewed by the NRPB's advisory group on