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WHO study examines cellphone risks to kids
CTV.ca News Staff
While cellphones are increasingly popular among kids,
some scientists worry the devices are a health risk to
The World Health Organization is completing a massive
study to see if there’s a link between cellphone use
and brain cancer and other ailments.
Cellphones emit electromagnetic radiation. Their
design requires them to be held tight to a person’s
Scientists are concerned that childrens’ skulls are
thinner and their brains are still developing.
Therefore, the risk of electromagnetic energy damaging
their brains could be greater than the risk for
There are ways to reduce the risk, said a WHO
“With respect to children, WHO recommends that
children should use hands-free headsets,” said Mike
“I have a headset, actually,” one youngster told CTV
News. “I use it when I’m biking.”
“It’s a decision for them and their parents to make
together,” said Peter Barnes of the Canadian Wireless
Telecommunications Association about cellphones and
Barnes said if children limit their cellphone use to
an hour per day, there should be no problems.
One reason for concern is that the wireless industry
is increasingly targeting children, coming out with
Barbie or Hello Kitty-themed products.
The Canadian research team contributing to the project
has access to the phone records of cancer patients —
and some of them are kids.
“And if we’re looking at chronic diseases like cancer,
because they are exposed at an earlier age, they have
a greater opportunity for that effect to manifest
itself,” said Daniel Krewski, who added there is no
evidence so far that kids are at risk.
Globally, the wireless industry predicts 1.6 billion
cellphone customers in 2005. About 15 million
Canadians are believed to use them.
The cellphone industry in this country claims to
employ 25,000 and generate about $10 billion in annual
“Given the immense numbers of users of mobile phones,
even small adverse effects on health could have major
public health implications,” the WHO said.
Kids and cancer aren’t the only focuses of the study,
which will also look at conditions like memory loss
and other decline in mental functioning.
The study is also examining the questions of whether
people can safely use cellphones while driving and how
much they interfere with medical devices.
The report should by completed by year’s end.
With a report from CTV’s Rosemary ThompsonLeave a reply →