The Berlin-based Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, or BfS) found no adverse effects associated with the use of mobile phones. German Environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel, at left, announced that more than 50 studies carried out from 2002 to 2008 by the German Mobile Telecommunications Program had found no evidence that mobile phones or transmission that complied with current required limits for EM emissions posed a health risk. They did add the usual caveat that more long term studies are needed since cell phones have been in use for a relatively short period of time. The program was funded by €17 million. Though Germany’s four largest wireless telecoms provided half the research funds, the BfS assured critics that research procedures had assured the objectivity of the studies. The research focused on the functioning mechanisms of high frequency electromagnetic fields in mobile telephony, their effects on humans and animals, and the amount of EM radiation to which the German public is exposed. Some of the studies produced some interesting results. They found no evidence that EM from mobile phones weakened the blood-brain barrier—long a controversial issue. Also, in studying the 1.5 percent of Germans who claimed to be sensitive to electromagnetism, BfS researchers noted that this group raised the highest number of false alarms—i.e., claiming to sense radiation when in fact there was no signal present—as compared to members of control groups. Researchers also pointed out that certain health issues such as lethargy, headaches, and sleep problems can be hard to trace to one physical issue. The original press release (auf Deutsch) can be readonline.
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