Dec 10, 2008

Tech - Mobile phone chip to counter radiation unveiled

BRUSSELS, Dec 9 (Reuters ) – Belgian health products distributor Omega Pharma will launch a chip it claims can counter potentially damaging radiation from mobile phones and has high hopes for its sales.

The company, which sells non-prescription products such as wart treatments, pregnancy tests and sun tan lotions to pharmacists, unveiled the E-waves phone chip on Tuesday, a day before its launch in Belgium.

Testing of the chip, which offsets the electromagnetic radiation from the phone, showed it lessened symptoms such as headaches and loss of concentration that might be associated with mobile phone use, Omega said.

It also neutralized the heating effect within the body produced by electromagnetic signals.

Testing of consumers appetite for the product, costing 38.95 euros ($50.1), will start on Wednesday.

The company will only have 30,000 of the chips available on day one, but believes it can ramp up production easily for foreign expansion.

"If we need 10 million, then we'll go for that," Chief Executive Marc Coucke told Reuters on the sidelines of the launch, although he said that was not a forecast.

Coucke and the scientists who have developed the chip argue there is a growing body of evidence showing a link between mobile phone use and the growth of tumors.

"It's like smoking. Eventually we reached a point where the health impact is widely acknowledged," Coucke said.

However, scientists worldwide remain split between those that believe there is a risk and others who believe there is insufficient evidence to show mobile phones are unsafe.

Omega, which has exclusive international distribution rights, will begin selling the product in other countries from early 2009. It will also launch three similar devices designed for use in the car, linked to a computer and in the home.

Omega competes with the over-the-counter arms of pharma giants such as Johnson & Johnson and Bayer and of consumer products groups such as Procter & Gamble.

Omega, the only sizeable stand-alone OTC company, ranks itself 11th in the world in that market. It is mainly active in western Europe, but is also pushing into eastern Europe.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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