Largest British Police Force
Told To Limit Cell Phone Use
Britain's biggest police force is advising staff to restrict calls on mobile phones to five minutes in the wake of new health fears.
Officers and civilian staff concerned about any risk are also being told by the force's safety experts to consider using an earpiece.
The advice was issued to London's 27,000-strong Metropolitan force after a number of reports raised safety concerns over the prolonged use of mobile phones.
Staff from the Met's occupational health directorate are now liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and the National Radiological Protection Board.
"Purely as a precautionary measure, the directorate offers advice to any Met personnel making inquiries about mobile phone safety," said a Yard spokesman.
The advice says: "Does the user really need to use a mobile phone? If so, they should limit the length of time to certainly no more than five minutes. If users are required to make regular and lengthy use of mobile phones, there would be no harm in using an earpiece."
Recent studies have added to mounting concern over the safety of mobiles - used by about 13 million people in Britain alone. Some researchers have warned that low-level microwave radiation from the handsets can heat the brain, causing a number of neurological problems.
The latest research emerged on BBC1's Panorama, where the programme-makers ordered a study of emissions absorbed by the brain from seven different mobiles - and found that all were well below the danger threshold. But two leading scientists have urged people to spend as little time as possible using the phones until further major research is carried out.
Swedish cancer expert Dr Lennart Hardell, and American Dr George Carlo, whose research body is funded by mobile phone firms, insist full-scale investigations are necessary to answer the safety questions.
Both men told Panorama that their research has provided only an indication that there could be a link with brain tumours. But, importantly, they have failed to establish there is no connection.