Scientist Fails In UK Legal Action Over Cellular Phone Radiation
Newsbytes News Network
Journalist: Steve Gold
November 16, 1998
The world’s first civil lawsuit regarding the harmful effects of cellular radiation has failed, with magistrates refusing the case on the grounds that the scientist bringing the prosecution, Roger Coghill, had failed to prove that mobile phones did not comply with British government- approved safety constraints.
As reported last week by Newsbytes, the lawsuit, made under the Consumer Protection Act in the UK, was a private prosecution by Coghill, a scientist who runs an independent science lab in South Wales. Coghill’ s lawsuit alleged that cellular retailers had failed to disclose the possible risk that cellular phones pose to people.
The “major health hazard,” that formed the centerpiece of the case, was the as-yet unproven issue of how cellular phone radio signals can cause damage to sensitive brain tissue when the phone is held against the ear.
As reported last week, several investigations into the issue have taken place at various labs around the world, but the results have been inconclusive, to say the least.
While health problems are generally not thought to impact analog cellular users, it is the pulsed nature of digital transmissions, which typically compress several signals onto one carrier signal, that are thought to pose the most serious risks.
Coghill’s case attempted to bring the while issue sharply into focus and, if successful, would have resulted in UK-sold cellular handsets having clear warnings along the same lines as health warnings seen on cigarette packs, Newsbytes notes.
In his presentation to the Welsh court, Coghill argued that using a mobile phone for more than 20 minutes at a time can increase the risk of cancers and other parallel health problems.
In his lawsuit, he asserted that he bought two mobiles from Mobile Communications Services in Cwmbran costing 130 pounds ($200) each. In the Abergavenny court, his lawyers said that current British legislation “says that goods should carry instructions or warnings, but the shop is doing nothing to warn the public about any risks.”
Wayne Morgan, the owner of the mobile phone shop, meanwhile, denied supplying a faulty mobile phone and failing to comply with safety regulations.
According to Coghill, a recent study by the Colorado State University of 150 phone users found that, where the usage of the mobile is high, there is a lack of hormones in the brain that help to prevent cancer.