Germans Seek Cell phone Radiation Controls
Newsbytes News Network
Journalist: Steve Gold
April 1, 1993

Just as the furor in the US over handheld cellphone radiation has started to die down, the German authorities have been spurred into action. Juergen Bernhardt, head of the German federal office of radiation (BfS), has made a formal request to the government to set rules governing maximum levels of electromagnetic radiation, following a number of health scares in recent months.

Speaking at the CeBIT computer fair in Hannover, Bernhardt said that cellular phone transmissions, under certain circumstances, could heat up human tissue if the transmitting antenna were just a short distance away from the ear.

Newsbytes notes that certain of the German mobile phones, notably the older digital systems, can generate up to two watts of power from a handheld. This contrasts to the 600 milliwatts (0.6 watts) that the TACS (total access communications system) and AMPS (American mobile phone system) analogue cellular phones radiate.

Bernhardt revealed that his department, having done some preliminary research into the situation, had concluded that human tissue can tolerate an increase of 0.5 degrees centigrade without any risk. However, because precise measurements within the human body cannot be taken, he admitted it is impossible to assess the effects of cellular phone transmissions on the human body, particularly the brain.

When questioned, he replied that an increase of just a few degrees could affect the brain and vision.

A likely side effect of Bernhardt’s comments is that the German government, and quite possible the European Commission (EC), may be galvanized into beginning a study into the effects of cellular radiation from handheld phones. This could have a profound effect on the development of mobile phone technology in Europe, if not the world, as industry comment has been brewing in Europe for some time.

Worries about the effect of radiation from handheld cellphones have been growing for several months since a US man filed lawsuit in January of this year, alleging that a tumor in his wife’s brain was caused or exacerbated by a handheld cellular phone