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Cordless phones are more of a health risk to young people than mobiles, according to new university research.
In a study of almost 400 Wellington intermediate pupils, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand adjunct researcher Mary Redmayne found pre-teens were more likely to suffer headaches if they made long or frequent calls on cordless phones or cell phones.
The research, to be published in the Environmental Health journal, also found high users of cordless phones more commonly experienced tinnitus, a distressing condition of ringing in their ears.
In a separate study, Redmayne discovered year 7 and 8 students talked on cordless phones for far longer than on their mobiles, meaning the home line exposed them to the highest levels of EMF radiation.
“People are pretty poorly informed about how this technology works – many people don’t realise that cordless phones are actually cell phones. Modern cell phones use the lowest amount of power that they need to transmit, but a cordless phone always works on full power.” said Mary Redmayne.
Her population-adjusted research found a significant association between teens’ radiofrequency exposure and short-term health issues – but she said international research suggested the long-term health risks were far more serious.
The highest category of use – over half an hour a day – in many studies has shown an increased risk of glioma, a malignant [brain or spine] tumour that is often fatal. Several studies have also shown an increased risk of acoustic neuroma – a little tumour on the nerve between the ear and the brain.
Other research papers showed male fertility was also adversely affected, this time from carrying a cellphone in a pants pocket.
Ms Redmayne said governments and individuals should be paying attention. “There was certainly enough to be concerned about.”
Sophie Walker, of the National Centre for Radiation Science, who advises the Ministry of Health, said the latest research showed conclusively that radiofrequency radiation had an effect at the cellular level.
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