French Health Ministry warns about heavy cell phone use

France's Ministry of Health made a statement yesterday warning citizens not to use their cell phones too much, although actual data on specific health risks remains inconclusive.

The statement advised against making calls when reception is poor or during high-speed travel. It also warned that phones should be kept away from "sensitive areas of the body" by using hands-free mode whenever possible.

Reports on the consequences of prolonged cell phone exposure have not given a definite answer as to precisely what the risks are, and some groups have even dismissed the radio frequency and microwave radiation from mobile phones as harmless.

However, those studies were reported to only take short term use into account. Some studies have shown an increased risk of tumors in those who have used analog mobile phones for more than 10 years.

Finland, the country with the highest per capita cell phone use, listed tumors as its second most common cause of death in 2006. Tumors constituted 23% of all deaths that year, evenly distributed among males and females.

While this result has not been backed by any studies correlating the deaths with heavy cell phone use, it is nonetheless an observation that has French officials wary of the technology.

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