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Hat to Combat Cell Phone Health Worries

A Norwegian-based group launched a novel baseball-style cap this week to shield users of mobile telephones from radio emissions that some people fear can trigger cancers. The "Mobile Cap," going on sale for 385 Norwegian crowns ($53) each, includes a light metal tissue that channels almost 100 percent of radio waves away from the head while allowing sound to pass through.

"The cap has a layer of woven silver," Walter Kraus, head of the Handy-Fashions group that produces the headwear, said. "It's no heavier than a normal cap." The blue or black peaked caps have flaps that fold down over the ear. Some people worry that radio emissions from mobile telephones can cause brain tumors or other cancers. But international studies of possible dangers have produced often conflicting evidence.

A recent study by Australian researchers over three years found that radio emissions from mobile phones did not trigger tumors in mice, and so probably did not do so in humans either. That followed another Australian study on mice five years ago that said cellular phones could foster tumor growth.

Swedish researchers said that long-term users of first-generation mobiles faced an 80 percent greater risk than non-users of developing brain tumors. Professor Peter Pauli of the University of the German Armed Forces said that materials of fine woven metal like silver, copper or steel could filter out about 95 percent of emissions from a mobile phone.

"Similar tissues are used to shield sensitive items in rockets and explosives," he said. In military equipment, the metal helps prevent sudden radio bursts from detonating a charge and so could also deflect radiation from the head.