From The Telegraph (UK):
Scientists call on US Senate to issue advice on mobile phones
Health campaigners are calling for safety advice to be issued with mobile phones after scientists told the US Senate that radiation from handsets could be linked to cancer.
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 7:04PM BST 15 Sep 2009
Dr Siegal Sadetzki, an epidemiologist and lecturer at Tel Aviv University, has recently carried out research that linked salivary gland tumours with the use of mobile phones. She told the powerful Committee on Appropriations that even if the risk is small the fact that four billion people use mobile phones worldwide mean it could result in “great damage” and a “precautionary approach” should be adopted by issuing safety advice with mobile phones.
Dariusz Leszczynski, a research professor at the University of Finland, said the current safety standards are not sufficiently supported by science because there has not yet been enough research into the long term effects of mobile phones on humans. He also said health warnings should be issued with mobile phones advising users to hold the devices away from the head, text where possible and use speaker phone.
The evidence given to the committee will now be passed to the US Sentate Health Committee that has the power to influence the regulatory agencies in charge of issuing safety advice on mobile phones.
Both Finland and Israel have issued precautionary advice on mobile phone use and health campaigners in Britain said the UK Government should be considering similar measures in the light of increasing concern from world-renowned scientists, especially for children.
The safety of mobile phones has been debated for years. A number of reports have claimed a link to tumours in the brain, ear or salivary gland but none have been conclusive enough to prompt action from the industry. The INTERPHONE study, a major report using data from 13 countries around the world, is due to be published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the end of this month.
Dr Sadetzki has been studying the effects of cell phones on public health for 10 years and contributed to the INTERPHONE study.
She said the extent of mobile phone use made it more important than ever to take a “precautionary” approach. She pointed out that cancer caused by radiation may take years to develop, as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atom bomb was dropped in 1945.
“There are now four billion people using this technology, including children, consequently even if a small risk for an individual exists the great number of users results in great damage,” she said.
Dr Sadetzki said Governments around the world should be issuing health advice such as using mobile phones as little as possible, holding the device away from the head and using a speaker phone or hand set.
“Cell phone technology is here to stay. However, the question that needs to be answered is not whether we should use them, but how,” she said.
Mr Leszcynski, who has issued advice through the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, agreed that safety measures should be implemented until further research has been carried out into the possible links with brain cancer.
“In the present situation of scientific uncertainty… the statements that the use of mobile phones is safe, are premature,” he said. “In my opinion the current safety standards are not sufficiently supported by science because of the very limited research on human volunteers, children, and on the effects of long-term exposures in humans.
“This situation of uncertainly calls not only for precautionary measures but also further research.”
Sarah Wright, of UK Campaign group Mast Sanity, said the British Government should ban mobiles for under 16-year-olds and bring in advice for adults. She said the EU has already said advice should be issued with any device that emits pulse microwave radiation like cordless phones and Wifi laptops.
“Health advice should be given out with mobile phones, particularly where children are concerned,” she added. “At least if people are given the information they can make their own decisions.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Available evidence suggests that there is no health risk associated with using mobile phones. We offer guidance on sensible use and keep emerging scientific evidence under review.”Leave a reply →