BBC News, January 2005
Parents should ensure their children use mobile phones only when absolutely necessary because of the potential health risks, an expert is warning. The latest study by Sir William Stewart says there is still no proof mobile phones are unsafe, but warns precautionary steps should be taken.
Sir William said children under eight should not use mobile phones at all.
In light of the findings, a phone designed for this age group has been withdrawn from sale in the UK.
The MyMo phone went on sale five months ago aimed at four to eight-year-olds to use in an emergency.
But in a statement, the UK distributor Communic8 said: “Although we feel the product, if used as recommended with parental guidance, is safe, we are not experts in either the radiation or medical fields that Sir William and his team are.
“Simple common sense has convinced us that even the remotest possibility of our product becoming a health risk to any child is unacceptable.”
Sir William, now of the National Radiological Protection Board, first warned five years ago that children should only use mobiles in emergencies. But he is now concerned that advice is being ignored.
Mobile phone operators welcomed the fact that Sir William’s report highlighted the lack of hard evidence linking handsets with adverse health effects. One in four seven to 10-year-olds now own a mobile phone – double the levels in 2001, according to latest figures.
Sir William’s new report, published on Tuesday, warns that if mobile phones do damage health, then children will inevitably be at greatest risk. It also calls for a review of the planning process for base stations.
Sir William said he did not favour mobile phone masts being situated near schools. He told the BBC Radio Four Today programme there was no absolute evidence that mobile phones were a risk to health – but various studies had raised serious concerns.
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