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Mobile anti-radiation - a telecoms 'inflight life-jacket'?

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3GSM column A cynic's first response to the offer of a magic device to protect phone users from radiation is to laugh and go find someone else to talk to. Don't. You may believe that the Exradia chip will never save a single life, or even prevent a single disease, but that doesn't mean they won't sell them.

To understand Exradia, think as a large corporate employer would think about exposure - not exposure to radiation, but exposure to legal liability. Then look at Exradia, and see what that large corporate CEO would see.

For a start, the CEO of Exradia is James Fintain Lawler. He's no snake-oil salesman, and nobody would try to pretend he is: a former CFO of Xerox, with deep understanding of American corporate life, he's onto something. He understands corporate responsibility.

The technology that powers Exradia is, to put it gently, unproven (quite possibly, unproveable) in operation.

Indeed, he knows this. In his pitch, Jim Lawler makes the excellent case that there is an incredible amount of anxiety, expressed by people who can be assumed to know what they are talking about, about the rise in radio frequency emissions, and the effects on human tissue - and points out that it simply isn't possible to say, as yet, whether the effects on human tissue involve effects on human health.

If the effects aren't long-term enough yet, the same applies to the cure (you might argue) but that's not the point. The point is whether there is a risk.

At this moment, the risk is assessed by almost everybody as nil. But nobody in authority can say: "It's safe!" because they would almost certainly be blamed for the next case of ear cancer in a mobile user.

What Exradia claims for its very low cost device is simply that it takes the pulsing signal emitted by a mobile phone's battery as it feeds the wireless signal, and masks that low frequency pulse with a superimposed noise signal. No low frequency pulse, no harmful effects from that low frequency pulse.

If you had to ask me whether I believe it or not, I would have to admit I don't believe a word of it. But if you asked me to sign a document saying there was no harm caused by low frequency pulsing and that a responsible employer could safely ignore a possible cure for that harm, I'd have to admit: "I can't say that." Nobody can - and that's why aircraft carry life-jackets.

To date, there is no known case of a life being saved by the presence of life jackets on aircraft. But there's a comfortable business or two based on the need to provide every seat with one, and to provide a maintenance and inspection service for the jackets, and an update service, and a replacement service.

If you have 2,000 employees and give them mobile phones what's the chance that one of them will develop a brain tumour?

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