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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 09:55 GMT
Do you feel safe using your mobile phone?
The UK government's mobile phone task force is to announce a range of projects designed to settle the issue of whether mobiles pose a risk to our health.

Some limited research suggests that radiation from mobiles can speed up the growth of human tissue and even affect human thought processes.

But as yet there is no medical evidence that mobile phones harm human health.

The task force has commissioned a 7.4m research programme designed to examine effects on behaviour, blood pressure and hearing. It will also test whether mobile radiation increases the risks of cancers and whether using mobiles affect the performance of drivers.

Do you feel safe using your mobile phone? Or do you think they are a potential health hazard? Are you concerned about possible side-effects from regular mobile use?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I am amazed at some of the comments made by some correspondents - are we becoming a nation of hypochondriacs! I use my mobile phone regularly albeit making short calls. I have no health problems whatsoever. The government should instead spend the 7.4 m on more worthwhile projects!
Adrian, Great Britain

If anyone is not sure as to what harm a cellphone could do, they should simply avoid using one. We lived without them remember?
Joseph, New Zealand

I am not worried that my brain is being fried by radiation from my phone

Simon, UK/Finland
Your phone can make your ear warm because it has a battery strapped to the side of it, and batteries do tend to get warm when used. I for one am not worried that my brain is being fried by radiation from my phone - any radiation emitted by my phone is far less than that of my microwave or PC monitor, and I'm not going to be worried about it until I have good cause to.
Simon, UK/Finland

I believe people who worry about phone radiation are paranoid. Hundreds of engineers spend much of their working lives in areas of much higher radiation levels without their health being affected. I worked in ground radar stations for many years and later in high power radio stations and I feel fine.
G.S.Brown, New Zealand

The task force should also investigate the health effects of the network transmitters. These must put out far more power than the phones. This could turn out very embarrassing for the government though, last year they changed the planning regulations to specifically make it harder to block applications to install transmitters.
David, England

The evidence behind mobile phones affecting people is sketchy at best, and perhaps the effects people claim to have felt are psychosomatically induced. I have been using a mobile for two years now and aside from the normal heat emissions that come from the prolonged use of any electronic equipment, I have never found it to affect me adversely.
Chang Hui, Singapore

Mobile Phones emit ionising radiation, no matter what the level may be

Graham, United Kingdom
Mobile Phones emit ionising radiation, no matter what the level may be. I keep the conversation short. Repeated bursts of even 0.8 Watt cannot be good for the brain.
Graham, United Kingdom

People should be aware that a mobile phone is continually transmitting a signal even when you're not making a call. For this reason I never carry my phone in my trouser pocket.

If you're worried about mobile phones and the radiation they emit, maybe you should get rid of your microwave ovens, TVs and PCs

Chris, UK
To AK, UK: Mobile phones do not permanently transmit, if they did this your battery would run out pretty quickly. Yes they do transmit whilst you are not making a call but only for a very small amount of time to update the network where the mobile is and to say that it is still turned on. As for the phone heating up your head, doesn't holding a normal non-mobile phone to your head for 45 minutes make your head get hot - it's a piece of electronic equipment, it's going to get warm. And if you're worried about mobile phones and the radiation they emit, maybe you should get rid of your microwave ovens, TVs and PCs which all emit radiation. The most power my phone is going to pump out is 0.8W whilst my microwave is over 800W.
Chris, UK

I found my ear heating up after using the phone, and my hearing being dulled after using my handset. I've decided it's not worth the risk, and no longer use one.
Alan, London

Try holding your hand over your ear for ten minutes and see how hot it gets. No worse with a mobile phone is it?
Peter Drake, UK

I find that my head gets hot if I natter on for too long. A hands free kit eliminates this problem but so does texting, which I do far more often. Am I going to get fingertip tumours, I wonder, or just RSI from tapping the buttons so much?
Ali Wells, Heybridge, Essex, UK

Like Ali Wells, my head gets hotter when I've been on the mobile for some time. Given that your consciousness and other brain functions are based around discharges and waves of electricity, I find the suggestion, that signals transmitted from a mobile (and indeed other devices) interfere with how the brain works, to be both reasonable and worrying.
Richard N, UK

I get quite a headache from my phone after only a few minutes use. If I carry it in my trouser pocket my leg goes slightly numb after a while. I try to use it as little as possible, it's just an emergency thing. I'd rather use a landline for a real phone call. Just stand near a TV or stereo when making a call and look at the electrical interference. This has got to be affecting our brains as well.
Phil, UK

Why don't they build in lead shields, then they would also be useful to hit muggers with.
Alexis, UK

I felt like I had an insect walking around inside my head, until I purchased a hands-free kit

Jonathan Tyler, England
While I was at University I worked closely with a group investigating the effects of rotating electromagnetic fields. They found no evidence to suggest that this could cause any damage to living organisms. At the time I would have laughed at anyone who said that their phone caused them problems. I continued to use my phone for about an hour a day with no problems, but then I got a new phone. I did make the connection at the time but I started getting headaches, lost my short-term memory and felt like I had an insect walking around inside my head. I thought I had the beginnings of the human form of BSE. Then I read an article in a newspaper where a chap described some of my other (more subtle but disturbing) symptoms. He said it was due to mobile phones. Immediately, I purchased a hands-free kit. Within days my insect disappeared and I am now 95 percent back to normal, two years on. However, my memory for detail is still not what it was.
Jonathan Tyler, England

I wouldn't worry about radiation. All phones have hidden software in them which allows mobile phone companies and police forces to track a person to within a square mile anywhere in the world. What better way to keep tabs on members of the public.
Andy, Midlands, UK

It's the old saying: The more you know, the more you worry. If they found out that TV signals harmed your health, would you stop watching TV?
Ricky, England

Long calls make me nauseous

Dave, England
I notice that whenever I use my phone when I'm hungover, I get a terrible headache (or at least it worsens my existing headache!) Long calls even make me start to feel nauseous.
Dave, England

I have been a regular mobile phone user for about four years. Recently I was admitted to hospital for investigation into blood discharges from my ears and nose. The doctors concerned said they could not be sure, but in their opinion my symptoms were a direct result of using my mobile phone.
Sam Docherty, Scotland

My phone gets quite hot after long periods of use, say a 45-minute call. I don't know if this is caused by the heat from my ear, the conversation itself or radiation. Anyway it's uncomfortable and I avoid it. As for whether it's unsafe, I simply don't know as there are just far too many so-called experts who have conflicting opinions. Most of the time my calls average about two to three minutes and I don't worry about it. I just checked my phone and it's had 27 hours of calls in the last three months - does that count as high usage, I wonder? The hands-free kit for my current trendy phone is hard to use, looks ridiculous and is uncomfortable hanging in my ear, although the superb kit I have in the car for total hands free operation is brilliant. But it's a pity that Nokia don't make phones to fit it any more! What a waste of 450.
Brian, England

I believe that a huge increase in brain tumours is inevitable

James, Manchester, England
Have you ever been sat at your desk, with your mobile beside you and suddenly get the feeling you're about to receive a text message or a phone call? I have and so have a lot of my friends. There is obviously some sort of magnetic or electric output reaching our brain, so how can this not be damaging to us? As sad as it is and I don't want to tempt fate in any way but I really do believe that a huge increase in brain tumours is inevitable.
James, Manchester, England

James, Manchester: I have never suddenly got the feeling that someone was about to phone or text message me. If you frequently get this I suggest you have your brain checked out immediately.
Mike, UK

The danger to me isn't my mobile phone - I don't have one. The real danger is other people using them while they're driving.

What's the point in worrying about what ifs? If the risk had been pointed out before half the population had a mobile, it might have made a difference. But what's the point in not using or doing something because it might have some repercussions? You'd never do anything.
Sandra, UK

I saw an extremely disturbing statistic the other day. It said that 94.7 percent of people who use their mobile phones more than one hour a day demonstrated a severely diminished ability to interact with people around them. Most worrying.
CNS, Durham, England

Not when I'm driving at 120kmh trying to change the CD on the radio whilst simultaneously lighting a cigarette. Otherwise I feel perfectly well microwaved, thanks!
Wolfgang, Switzerland

I will be amazed if it is ever found that mobiles don't cause medical problems

Martina, UK
On my desk I place my mobile phone along with my PC and land line telephone. The land line telephone and my PC screen pick up the signals to my mobile, which causes great interference. If you stand too close to a transmitter you will get fried - a mobile is a mini-transmitter and holding it close to either your brain or your internal organs must be hazardous. I will be amazed if it is ever found that this doesn't cause medical problems.
Martina, UK

I use a mobile phone a great deal due to the nature of my work. I used to suffer severe headaches on the side of my head where I had held the phone. Last year I started using a hands free kit and have not suffered a headache of this type since. I think anyone who uses a mobile phone should use a hands free kit. They also have the added benefit of allowing discreet mobile phone use, useful when mobile users are easy targets for muggers.
Samantha, UK

I still do not think that there is sufficient evidence to support reasoning behind the mobile phone scare. They haven't proved that cancer is caused by phones and I intend to continue to use one.
Tom, England

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