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Q: How do you pass off a cancer-reducing mobile add-on?

A: Claim it's for increased phone efficiency

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The controversy continues over reports that mobile phone manufacturers have patented cancer-reducing add-ons, when they claim there is no risk to humans from the phones.

Two days after The Times revealed the gadgets' existence, the phone companies have come up with their explanation. The "radiation-reducing devices" are not for reducing or redirecting waves that could cancer - why would that be the case when there's no risk? - no, they are for improving the phone's efficiency. This is a really good thing because it means batteries will last longer.

The "innovations" are for reducing the amount of radio waves that the phones emit, spokespeople from Ericsson and Motorola have said (haven't heard from Nokia yet), but the momentum behind their development is not to do with "health issues", it's for performance and efficiency.

This may seem like a particularly poor explanation, especially when they've had two days to think up an answer, but what other possibilities are there? If any readers have any better excuses email them to us and we'll forward them to the manufacturers.

This would be our explanation: that the shields are being developed to keep emissions from the next-generation of phones (which will have far greater power requirements) below the safe limits imposed by law. Limits that current mobile phones are well below.

Maybe we should go into PR.

The cancer issue - quite rightly - won't go away. For every study concluding that phones pose no risk, there is another saying they can cause brain tumours. It's a similar sort of situation as the argument over power lines and cancer/congential defects and nuclear power sites and leukaemia .

The government's official line at the moment is that young children should be wary with their usage. ®

Related Link

The Times article: Mobile firms patent cancer shields

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