Mobile phones "leaking hazardous chemicals"

Swedish researchers claim emissions could be behind reported headaches, dizziness, in users

Swedish scientists have claimed that hazardous chemicals emitted by mobile phones could be causing symptoms such as headaches in phone users. The researchers claim this is the first report of possible leaching of chemicals from mobile phones in use.

According to Bo Börstell and colleagues at Malmö-based contract testing laboratory IMTEC, mobile phones warmed to body heat, as they could be when pressed against the ear, emitted a range of chemicals, including phenol, cresol and biphenyls. They suggest that these could enter mobile phone users' bodies through the skin or by inhalation. "This may explain why many frequent users of mobile phones complain over constant headaches and dizziness," Mr Börstell told Swedish magazine New Technology, which first reported on the IMTEC scientists' two-year investigation.

Responding to the news, Mats Pellbäck-Scharp of major Swedish mobile phone maker Ericsson said he couldn't understand where the chemicals originate from. "We will of course look into this immediately," he told New Technology. Sweden's Chemicals Inspectorate has requested a copy of the scientists' report for evaluation and the Swedish Institute for Research on the Workplace will also follow-up the research.

Mr Börstell and colleagues are not sure where the chemicals originate. "They may come from details on the phones made from phenolic plastic. Another source may be the liquids used to facilitate the release of the phone shell from plastic presses at the factory. Circuit cards may also be the villains," Mr Börstell said.

Follow Up:
IMTEC, +46 40 22 33 40.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.