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Cell Phones Can Be Harmful--at Least to Worms

May 18, 2000|From Times staff and wire reports

Cell phones can be aggravating and obnoxious. Might they also be harmful? Maybe so, say British and Canadian scientists, who have explored the situation in tiny worms. In lieu of building worm-sized cell phones, the scientists said Tuesday, they exposed the creatures to low levels of microwaves. The worms started making proteins that are usually made in response to environmental stresses. This is a far cry from demonstrating a cell phone health risk in people, say the researchers. It's assumed that cell phones are safe because the microwave energy the phones emit is too low to heat peoples' heads. Yet the worms weren't heated either.

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