“Disney is relying on the FDA.” In some parts of the scientific community and in several European countries, though, the question of whether cell phones are safe, especially when it comes to kids, has yet to be answered. Britain’s advisory body on radiological hazards, the Health Protection Agency, has issued precautionary advice urging parents to limit their kids’ use of cell phones. The HPA recommends that younger children use cell phones only for essential purposes. “NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE” While there is no definitive proof of health consequences from cell-phone radiation beaming at young skulls, there is a scientific debate on the issue. “The agency’s position is precautionary because of the genuine uncertainties that come with the rapid introduction of any new technology,” says Dr. Mike Clark, scientific spokesman for the HPA.
“The fact that younger and younger children were using them certainly worried us.” Clark says the agency’s official line is that it would be wrong for the industry to market phones directly to children. Cell-phone companies, Clark says, have honored that position in Britain. The FDA, for its part, says there’s no available scientific evidence of health problems associated with using wireless phones. But it also notes that “there is no proof, however, that wireless phones are absolutely safe.” Adds Louis Slesin, publisher of Microwave News, a journal that has tracked the issue for 25 years:
“There is plenty of data showing that we may have a serious problem on our hands, but at this point no one really knows for sure.” Essentially, then, the U.S. offers no precautionary guidelines. So companies are preparing to go after what analysts say is the next gold mine: kids, even those as young as 5.
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