The health risks associated with mobile phones

What is the impact of modern technology on our children's lives?

It is a decade since the Stewart Report highlighted concerns about the potential impact of mobile phones on children because their skulls are thinner than adults' skulls. Further study suggested that children under 8 should not use a mobile phone at all and older children should only use them in case of an emergency. Many respected authorities believe that invisible radio frequency radiation can alter living cells and create the same types of damage that we know increase the risk of cancer and neurological disease. It would seem that our children are growing up in a tidal swell of radio frequency radiation that did not exist even five years ago.

A major concern about mobile phones has been that radiation can penetrate deeper into a child's skull because it is so much smaller and thinner than an adult's skull. Standards for phones are geared towards a thick-skulled man, although 50% of the world's mobile phones are used by young adults under the age of  twenty. It has been shown previously that heart arrhythmias can be triggered by cordless phones and so, as our bodies run on electrical currents, why is it so strange to believe that these might be disrupted by pulsed frequencies emitting from a hand held device?

Children are more susceptible to damage because they are still growing and their neural pathways will not be fully developed until they reach their early twenties. Common sense tells us that our youngsters require protection from anything that could interfere with the healthy development of the brain. In France, research has resulted in the decision to ban the use of mobile phones by children of primary school age. Advertising of phones aimed at the younger generation is also discouraged. After hospital and library workers complained of feeling ill at work, wireless communication systems were removed from public places. Surely, it would be prudent to follow these precautionary measures whilst further research is conducted into the health effects of electromagnetic radiation?

Safety advice is generally only to be found in the small print. Manuals for the Blackberry(the Torch), for example, warn customers to "use hands-free operation if available and keep the device at least 25mm from your body(including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers)" when it is switched on.

Most parents want the security of knowing their child is only one phone call away in case of any difficulties, so equipping them with a mobile phone may seem the sensible thing to do. But is it?

Some small changes you can make now are:

  •  Never carry a live mobile phone next to your body.
  • Always use a headset whenever possible.
  • Keep calls to a short duration.
  • Send texts instead of making calls.
  • Turn off all wireless equipment at night, in the car and when near pregnant women or children.