09 Nov 2011 | By John Bingham
Experts are calling for a campaign of health warnings about mobile phones even though they admit there is no clear evidence that using them is harmful.
A group of doctors and academics is calling for the Government and mobile industry to launch a publicity drive aimed at children and pregnant women.
They have published a report claiming that more than 200 studies now link mobile phone use to conditions such as brain tumours. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8878467/Call-for-mobile-phone-health-warnings-despite-inconclusive-evidence.html
Their report, published by the campaign group MobileWise argues that failing to act now could be “dangerous”.
It says that the risks could take decades to prove conclusively but that there is “no justification” for inaction.
Yet critics have warned of the risks of scaremongering over mobile phones without clear evidence of harm.
Successful campaigns against new mobile phone masts, fuelled by media reports of health risks, have left some areas with poor or patchy reception.
Last month George Osborne, the chancellor, announced £150 million to subsidise new mobile infrastructure insisting that a functioning mobile phone and broadband system were now “crucial to Britain’s future”.
But the report, whose authors include Kevin O’Neill, a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Charing Cross Hospital in London, argues that there is now a substantial body of evidence suggesting that mobile phone use could be harmful.
The report argues that some studies suggest a “doubling” of the risk of some brain tumours for those who use their mobile phone for about half an hour a day for 10 years.
It also highlights suggestions of a link between mobile phone use and tumours in the salivary glands.
“The fact that the evidence is not conclusive and that there are gaps in our understanding is not justification for inaction,” the report, Mobile phone health risks: the case for action to protect children, argues.
“Both the Government and phone companies could very easily do far more to alert the public, particularly children, to the emerging risks and safety measures.”
Mr O’Neill said: “Although further research is needed, it makes sense to err on the side of caution in the mean time.
“The long induction period for brain tumours and some of the other possible health effects means that it could take many years to fully understand the risks.
“We know from our experience with smoking and asbestos that waiting for certainty of harm is a dangerous policy.”
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