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Inaccurate self-reporting of cell phone use could skew assessment of health effects


I spend more time than I'd like on my cell phone - a discontinued, virtually prehistoric model that heats up after any significant use. But how much time exactly? No idea.

It turns out many people are similarly unsure, leading to worry that questionnaire-based epidemiological studies on the health effects of cell phones have underestimated radiofrequency exposure.

To shed some light on the issue, researchers from Monash University in Australia gave 30 students hardware-modified phones, which logged laterality (side of head), date, number and duration of calls over one week. The recorded information was compared with self reports on the same parameters. The finding:

Adolescent self-reported phone use by number and duration of calls was generally inaccurate but comparable to recent adult studies. Epidemiological studies of mobile phone use based on self-reported information may underestimate true associations with health effects.

While "the science on cell phones is all over the place," according to San Francisco's department of the environment, the city recently approved a cell phone radiation disclosure law, which will take effect in February 2011.

Photo by Albui69
Previously: European consortium to study long-term health effects of mobile phones

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