In the USA last year, The EPA came under fire because of its proposed “Children”™s Environmental Exposure Research Study” (CHEERS) that proposed exposing children to household chemicals that are known to be toxic to see the health effects on the kids over a two year span. I believe that proposal was finally cancelled due to much opposition. It was seen as like using children as lab rats in a study organised by the chemical industry that now is the EPA biggest “partner” in research. Ethical considerations aside, a mere two years is nowhere long enough to pick up long term health problems, such as cancer. The study would have run the two years, no increase in cancer rates would have been the likely outcome with the predictable headlines “Chemical cancer risk for children disproven” appearing nationally.
Now we have an Australian study (below) that claims to be be working on the precautionary principle by using 12-13 year olds to function as lab rats for testing effects of their mobile phone use. Will the researchers first be advising the kids of the possible consequences of their cell phone use? Will they be advicing them to limit their use, following Sir William Stewart’s recommendation? Will the study exclude kids who just text message and thus do not get the exposure that one gets when the phone is held against the head? This study has NOTHING to do with the precautionary principle. It also only runs for three years which is far too short to pick up any increased cancer or acoustic neuroma risk that it is known to take at least 10 years to be apparent. Three years is simply not long enough to determine if there is a long-term health hazard but that won’t stop the “Study finds kid’s use of cell phones safe” headlines if they fail to find anything.
Remember Michael Repacholi’s criteria for children and cell phone studies: “where more science is needed to rule out concerns” And that is where this study is likely headed.
Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids
The Sudney Morning Herald
Date: November 20 2005
By Danielle Teutsch
A world-first study will begin in Australia this week to find out if mobile phones are damaging the health of children. Go to full article at:
http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/11/19/1132017024221.htmlLeave a reply →