Hands-free mobiles 'treble radiation risk'

Hands-free kits for mobile phones do not always provide protection from radiation and some even increase its levels, according to research published last night.

Hands-free kits for mobile phones do not always provide protection from radiation and some even increase its levels, according to research published last night.

Instead of offering protection, the two devices testedacted as aerials, channelling three times as much radiation from phones into users' heads, the Consumers' Association said. With some reports linking mobile phone use to possible illness and even brain tumours, many phone users buy hands-free sets and shields, believing they will minimise radiation to their heads.

But test results, published by Which?, showed the devices did not always provide protection, and some significantly increased levels of radiation.

Graeme Jacobs, the editor of Which? magazine, said: "If you're worried about levels of radiation from your mobile phone, you shouldn't rely on a hands-free set. The two models we tested triple the radiation to your brain, though we still don't know for certain whether that radiation is harmful."

He said that while hands-free kits could be convenient to use, they could not be relied on to reduce health risks.

Which? also tested phone shields and attachments that claimed to block radiation, but tests revealed they offered limited, if any protection. MrJacobs added: "As for phone shields, the ones that we looked at don't help, so if you're thinking of buying one, don't waste your money."

He said there was currently no conclusive evidence that mobile phone radiation caused health problems, including cancer or gene damage, but neither had the fears been discounted.

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