Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids: it is unlawful to experiment on children

From Sylvia

Mike Clark, presenting at the TETRA Conference in Dorset, said it was unlawful to experiment on children:

Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids

November 20, 2005

A world-first study will begin in Australia this week to find out if mobile phones are damaging the health of children.

The study of 12- and 13-year-olds will measure if mobile-phone use affects factors such as hearing, memory, sleep and ability to concentrate.

It follows recommendations by the World Health Organisation that more research be urgently done on whether children's central nervous systems are more vulnerable than adults' to the effects of electromagnetic radiation.

Australian children have one of the highest rates of mobile-phone ownership in the world - almost half of those aged 13 to 15 and a third of those aged 10 to 13 own one.

The National Health and Medical Research Centre study, which will follow 300 Melbourne children over three years, is being conducted by the Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research.

The children will have their cognitive functions, hearing and blood pressure tested at regular intervals, ACRBR executive director Dr Rodney Croft said. "These are areas that are likely to be affected, if there are any effects," he said.

Several studies have shown EMR exposure causes no harm to the physical development of children over age two or a higher likelihood of cancer.

Dr Croft said the research was a response to community concerns about children and mobile phones.

"What we are working on is the precautionary principle," he said.

WHO radiation program coordinator Dr Mike Repacholi, who was in Australia last week as part of a workshop on EMR and health effects at Melbourne's Swinburne University, said filling the gaps in research was a high priority because of the increasing number of children using mobile phones.

"Children as young as five are using mobile phones," Dr Repacholi said. "Yet international standards on exposure [to EMR] are the same for children and adults."

He said children absorbed more radiation because of their smaller heads and thinner skulls. This could possibly cause behaviour, learning and concentration problems.

"So the net result is that children do receive higher exposures," he said. "We could see some subtle effects on the central nervous system."

In January, the British Government's chief adviser on mobile phones, Sir William Stewart, said children aged three to eight should not use mobiles and older children should strictly limit their use until more research had been done.

Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association spokesman Randal Markey said new research was welcome but more than 400 studies on mobile phones had already shown no health consequences, either for adults or children.

Mr Markey said advice from the WHO, the Health Council of the Netherlands and the US Food and Drug Administration was that limiting the use of mobile phones by children was unnecessary.

"The present information does not support that mobile phones for children should be limited," he said.

Omega this is not true. See under:

Children and mobile phones

Petition to remove Dr. Mike Repacholi


Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids

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.

Don Maisch

Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids

The Sidney 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:


Source: http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/index.php?p=320


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