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Cell phones are safe, but long-term exposure is unclear, experts say

Are you worried that using your cell phone too much might lead to brain cancer? Three large studies published in the last six months say: rest easy -- for now.

An article appearing in The Denver Post says the studies -- two in the United States, one in Denmark -- show no evidence of short-term problems. Still, the article points out, the studies aren't definitive. That's because no one has examined whether long-term exposure causes any ill effects.

This ABC News story says the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has called for more research into the safety of mobile phones.

"The fact that two independent studies have [similar] results suggests that the use of cell phones is in fact safe," says Dr. Peter M. Black, a principal investigator of one of the studies and chief of neurosurgery at Boston's Brigham & Women's Hospital.

Another potential problem with recent studies, according to The Denver Post story, is that they looked mostly at analog phones. Most newer phones are digital.

The Federal Communications Commission has set standards for radiation emissions from cell phones. Those sold in the United States can't emit more than 1.6 watts of energy per kilogram of tissue, a measure known as the Specific Absorption Rate -- the amount of radiation absorbed by the body, The Post reports. To find the Specific Absorption Rate for your phone, go to the FCC Web site.

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