In two new studies released this week, researchers found that cell phones are not a likely cause of brain tumours in consumers who use the wireless devices.
Both studies involved hundreds of patients who now have brain cancer. They show that those who are affected were no more likely to be cell phone users.
For consumers, it should be encouraging news.
If you’re the kind of cell phone user who doesn’t believe the research, or you’re skeptical, there’s a new product you may want to consider. It’s called the SAR shield, an Italian-made device with a promise to reduce cell phone radiation by up to 87 per cent.
The company contracted an independent lab whose research backs up the claim.
The SAR shield costs about $30, and is one of a couple of its kind on the market.
You squeeze the small metal device on to the antenna of your phone, reinforce it with adhesive, and that’s it.
“The consumer has indicated that they feel concern about cell phones and the radiation emitted by the phones,” Bob Simoneau, vice-president of SAR shield. “What we have done is provide them with a way to reduce the emissions without suffering any performance degradation on the phone itself.”
The SAR shield is sold throughout Quebec, and will be available in Ontario this week.
But the cell phone manufacturers aren’t too happy that the device is being sold next to its products.
“They would have preferred we not carry the product,” says Ara Imamedjian manager at Compucentre. “Their feeling is that carrying the product means there is a risk and they don’t want the population to panic.”
“We are not saying cell phones are dangerous,” says Simoneau. “We are saying we don’t know and they experts don’t know. That’s why they’re testing it.”
So for consumers, it comes down to a question of do you think you’re safe, and who do you believe? There is no real down side to the using one of these SAR shields. The only risk is $30.
The debate is still on over safety. With that in mind, what should consumers using cell phones keep in mind?
Even the phone manufacturers now recommend that you use a headset or hands-free unit where possible, and that you keep the antenna at least a couple of inches from your head – however that’s possible.
Consider whether you need to spend as much time on the cell phone. Could that call wait until later, or could you use a pay phone? If you think critically about your cell phone use, you will certainly reduce your exposure to radiation and you’ll save a lot of money.
To check out the product, visit http://www.sarshield.com/. To check out the study done by SAR Shield on cell phone radiation, visit http://www.sartest.com/.
Copyright 2000 by GlobalTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Sean O’Shea’s Consumer$mart appears daily on Global News At 5:30 (Toronto only). If you have questions, comments, complaints, or story ideas, send them to Consumer$mart.