Japan’s four mobile operators have announced interim findings [.PDF] that radio-frequency energy from mobile-phone base stations does not affect human cells. The World Health Organization has recommended further research with respect to the safety of these waves and, in response, the companies started examining the biological effect of microwave exposure from mobile phones and base stations in November 2002. The results will be announced at the Bioelectromagnetics (BEMS) Annual Meeting, 19-24 June, 2005, in Ireland, and have also been submitted to the BEMS Journal.
Using four human cell lines, two containing established infant and fetal fibroblast cells and two containing cerebral tumor tissues, and examining about 20,000 genes in the human genome (approximately 40,000 genes have been identified), researchers found no effect on cell proliferation, gene expression profile or DNA single-strand breaks. The results seem to indicate the safety of radio waves, as the radio waves used in the experiment were up to 10 times stronger than the limit set forth in radio frequency radiation protection guidelines for base stations.
Mitsubishi Chemical Safety Institute Ltd., which has extensive experience in safety tests using cell cultures and microorganisms, provided support for the research. In addition, biochemical aspects of the research were commissioned to Professor Junji Miyakoshi of Hirosaki University and engineering aspects to Professor Toshio Nojima of Hokkaido University.