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Ericsson Denies Report On Health Hazards
Reuters
06/10/01

Leading mobile phone firm Ericsson on Monday denied a British newspaper report that the company, along with Nokia and Motorola , was patenting devices to reduce the risk of brain tumours among users.

The Times reported that all three companies had invented new components to shield users from radiation emissions from handsets. All the companies rejected allegations that their products caused health hazards, the newspaper said.

The report on the patents came at a sensitive time for the mobile phone industry.

U.S. neurologist Christopher Newman last year filed a lawsuit against leading U.S. phone companies including Motorola, stating that his use of cell phones caused a malignant brain tumour.

Ericsson and Nokia were not named in Newman's lawsuits.

A spokesman for Ericsson played down the significance of the report in a telephone interview with Reuters.

He said the patents were designed to make mobile phones more effective by using fewer radiowaves -- rather than to specifically prevent brain tumours -- and denied the patents were an admission that using the company's phones could lead to health problems.

"A few individual people patented technologies specifically to reduce the radiowaves (used by) mobile phones," Michael Westmark, Ericsson spokesman on health and safety, told Reuters.

The Times also quoted Nokia Vice-President William Plummer as saying that the patents did not prove the existence of any health hazards through the use of mobile phones.

Officials at Nokia could not be reached to confirm Plummer's comments. Officials at Motorola could not be reached for comment on the report.