Health issues related to electromagnetic radiation exposure and chemical exposure

Israeli parliament moves to require cell phones to carry health-hazard warning

Press Release: for immediate release
UK charity welcomes move by Israeli parliament to require cell phones to carry health-hazard warning

Friday 2 March 2012, London – UK Charity MobileWise welcomes a bill requiring all cell phones sold in Israel to bear a health-hazard warning label which passed the first of three readings into law on Wednesday. The labels will read ‘Warning – the Health Ministry cautions that heavy use and carrying the device next to the body may increase the risk of cancer, especially among children.’ All advertising targeting minors would also be banned under the law, and breaking the law would be a criminal offense.

UK Charity MobileWise is urging the UK government to adopt similar measures. MobileWise’s director, Vicky Fobel said “The UK is falling behind other countries, many of which are taking steps to inform the public of the potential risks, and how they can protect themselves. Children in particular need to be informed of safety steps. The Department of Health has had a safety warning for 11 years but it is hidden away and children and families don’t know about it”

Israeli member of parliament Dov Khenin said “The bill that passed today is a breakthrough in expanding public awareness of the possible risks in using cellular phones.”
In November 1998, UK campaigners tried to force retailers to put warning labels on mobile phones in a legal action but the evidence was not strong enough at that time: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/210771.stm Dr Christopher Busby, Visiting Professor in the Department of Bio-Molecular Sciences in the University of Ulster and expert witness in that case said today: “The proposed labeling of these devices by Israel’s government is a welcome development and I hope our government will follow suit.”

In recent years, the evidence of health risks has grown substantially. MobileWise’s Vicky Fobel said “There are now hundreds of peer-reviewed studies suggesting that phone use may carry serious health risks, especially for children. Risks identified in research include cancer, damage to fertility and genetic damage. Children are known to absorb double the radiation that an adult does.”

As well as the latest move in Israel, other initiatives abroad demonstrate a growing recognition of the mounting evidence:
• San Francisco’s city government recently passed regulations requiring phone retailers to give customers a leaflet containing safety advice but the phone industry has mounted a legal challenge: http://www.sfenvironment.org/our_programs/interests.html?ssi=2&ti=3&ii=250

• In France, mobile phones are banned from primary schools, all phones must be supplied with a headset and advertising targeted at children is banned. The government has initiated a safety information programme through its National Institute for Prevention and Health Education. http://www.lesondesmobiles.fr/.

• In Canada, the country’s public health service has issued new guidelines over children’s mobile phone use which include practical advice for under-18s on how to reduce exposure to radiation

Notes to editors

The Department of Health advises that under-16’s should limit their use of mobiles to short essential calls. This advice was first issued in 2000 and was confirmed last year but there have been no moves to publicise the advice: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_124899.pdf
Last May The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed all the evidence on cancer risk and classified mobile phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans, within Class 2B. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2811%2970147-4/fulltext?_eventId=login

The Council of Europe has called for strict regulation of the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren and awareness-raising campaigns: http://assembly.coe.int/Mainf.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta11/ERES1815.htm

The European Environment Agency has called on governments to adopt warning labels and other measures to reduce exposures to phone radiation: http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/health-risks-from-mobile-phone

A Danish study which was billed last year as giving the all clear to phones has since been criticised as misleading. See online responses at http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6387/reply#bmj_el_271900 and published critique at http://ebm.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/17/ebmed-2011-100479.extract

MobileWise is an independent charity set up in 2010 to help children use phones more safely. Its Safe Mobile Code has been formulated to offer practical solutions to cut exposure to phone radiation: www.mobilewise.org

Contact:
Vicky Fobel, Director of MobileWise:
Email: vicky.fobel@mobilewise.org Tel: 020 32 39 31 32 / 07979 520664

For details on the Israeli legislation see http://www.haaretz.com/business/knesset-backs-bill-requiring-cell-phones-to-bear-health-hazard-warning-1.415677
Contact Israeli parliament (Knesset) members: yulias@knesset.gov.il and dhanin@knesset.gov.il

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