Children should not use Mobile Phones Due to Health Fears

David Adam, science correspondent, Wednesday January 12, 2005 - Guardian, UK
Children should not use mobile phones because of continuing concerns over the possible health risks, a leading expert warned yesterday. Sir William Stewart of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) urged parents not to give the phones to children under the age of eight, and said those between eight and 14 should use them only when absolutely necessary.
"I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobile phones are totally safe," Prof Stewart said. Scientists have yet to find proof that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones and their transmitter masts could be dangerous, but Prof Stewart said new evidence suggested there might be possible health implications.
He said there was enough uncertainty about mobile phones to adopt a "precautionary approach" - particularly when it comes to children. If electromagnetic radiation poses a risk it will affect children more than adults because their skulls are thinner and their brains are still developing.
"If you have a teenager and you feel they can benefit in terms of security by having a mobile phone, it is a personal choice, it is a personal decision, although mobile phones have not always helped on that basis," Prof Stewart said. "But if mobile phones are available to three- to eight-year-olds I can't believe for a moment that can be justified.
Last year, a study of 750 people by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that using a mobile phone for 10 years or more could quadruple the risk of acoustic neuroma, a rare tumour on the nerve between the ear and the brain. Separate research in Germany linked emissions from mobile phone base stations to DNA damage, and possibly cancer.
The Mobile Operators Association, representing the five UK mobile phone networks, said: "Parents need to weigh up the possibility of future unknown health effects against the tangible security benefits provided by this technology. All mobile phones sold in the UK comply with international health and safety exposure guidelines set by independent scientific experts."