| AUDITORY SYSTEM - Safeguarding the ears
The auditory system is clearly the human organ for which any questions regarding the effect of mobile telephone radio frequencies would seem to be the most pertinent. In-depth research carried out between 2002 and 2004 under the European project Guard (Potential adverse effects of GSM cellular phones on hearing) provides a reassuring response, however, as an Italian biomedical expert engaged in risk prevention in this field explains.
Direct tests on human volunteers
In 2000, it was Paolo Ravazzani who coordinated the launch and implementation of Guard, one of the first major European biomedical research projects, launched by the EU under the Fifth Framework Programme. French, British, Italian, Greek, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Russian specialists first carried out in-depth tests on animal models. At the same time, sophisticated systems for the recording and verification of measurements were developed so as to be able to carry out direct tests on the auditory systems of human volunteers, looking in particular at the positioning of the devices. One of the subjects studied concerned the central question of localised non-thermal effects that could be caused by the intensive use of GSM devices operating in the 900 to 1 800 megahertz frequency range.
“After three years of research, none of our results permit us to affirm that mobile phones cause the slightest damage to the principal hearing faculties. But Guard does not stop there. We have also defined procedures and accumulated knowledge that open the door to other types of enquiry into potential problems that could still arise in the longer term. For example, we recommend more in-depth research on the effects of mobile phones on the efferent cochlear system.”(2)
Tracking technological trends
(1) Istituto di Ingegneria Biomedica – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
(2) In sensorial neuro-anatomy this term refers to the channels that ‘descend’ to the sensorial receivers. The latter send messages to the central nervous system through afferent channels and receive messages from the central nervous system through efferent channels.
(3) Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
(4) Exposure to UMTS EMF: Study on potential adverse effects on hearing