September 7, 2011 | by Richard Gray
A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have “potentially harmful” effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children.
In a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol.
The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology and are widely used in British homes.
Fears have been raised that electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices can cause cancers and affect the developing brain.
The findings were seized on by campaigners who oppose the spread of wireless devices.
The committee concluded that member states should:
• Set thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves of the type emitted by mobile phones;
• Introduce clear labelling on products indicating the presence of electromagnetic fields and any health risks associated with use;
• Ban all mobile phones and wireless networks in classrooms and schools;
• Run information campaigns aimed at children and young adults about the risks to human health;
• Step up research on less-dangerous types of antennae and mobile phones.
The conclusions contradict advice from the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health, which says exposure to electromagnetic fields poses little or no risk to human health.
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